A MAN on trial for the unlawful killing of a dad in an alleged unprovoked attack has a history of violence that saw him assault two other men, a court heard.
Paul Sutton – accused of the manslaughter of dad Mark Dixon, 32, after punching him in Hartlepool town centre last October – once hit a man at a holiday camp who challenged Sutton about queue jumping for toilets, the jury was told.
The incident happened at Butlins Ingoldmells, in Lincolnshire, in December 2006, and Sutton accepted a formal police caution.
He also landed himself in court two years later when he punched a pub doorman in the eye after the victim and another man tried to intervene in an argument Sutton was having in the street with a woman.
Prosecuting, Tim Roberts QC said Sutton swung three punches at the doorman which missed before he hit him in the eye causing swelling.
Sutton, 29, admitted battery before Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court in November 2008.
Details of Sutton’s past were put to the jury as the prosecution closed its case yesterday.
Earlier in the trial, the court heard from witnesses how the East Durham dad was knocked unconscious by Sutton after Mr Dixon challenged him about a comment Sutton made towards Mr Dixon’s friend Cheryl Bell.
It happened while the two of them looked for a taxi to share in Victoria Road, at 4am on Sunday, October 5.
Mr Dixon suffered a fractured skull and brain injuries after hitting his head on the pavement and died six days later in hospital having never regained consciousness.
Sutton claimed he had acted in self defence when he was interviewed by police on October 7.
During the interview, which was read to the jury, Sutton was shown CCTV footage of him jumping around and kissing people in Victoria Road shortly before the assault.
The police asked if he was agitated. Sutton said: “I’m like an energetic drunk. I was having a laugh.”
Sutton told police that Mr Dixon walked up to him and friend Keith Long after Sutton shouted “gee up” towards Miss Bell.
He said Mr Dixon repeatedly asked Sutton “what did you say?” and claimed Mr Dixon moved Keith Long, who was between them, out the way.
Sutton said he feared he was going to be attacked as a result so punched him.
“He has come at me and I have defended myself,” he said. “It wasn’t a vicious punch or anything like that.”
Sutton admitted walking away afterwards and leaving Mr Dixon lying unconscious in the road.
He said: “I just thought he would get up, I didn’t realise how bad it actually was. It’s obviously the impact on the floor that’s caused the damage.”
Police put it to Sutton that what he did was not self defence.
Sutton said: “It is yes. Why would he walk back to someone if he was not going to do something about it? He was being aggressive.”
Sutton denied that he was looking for a fight by making the suggestive comment towards Miss Bell.
The police told Sutton that Mr Dixon, from Peterlee, was lying in a coma in hospital at the time and was gravely ill.
Sutton said: “Tell him I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cause this damage.”
The trial is not sitting today and the defence case is due to begin tomorrow morning.
Sutton, of Fordham Road, Sunderland, and formerly Hartlepool, denies manslaughter.