Man 'demanded cash for dirty jumper as victim Ben Mahoney lay dying' in Dartford kebab shop House on the Hill, manslaughter trial jurors told
Eddy Ives is on trial accused of manslaughter
A man said to have "gone berserk" in a takeway shop by repeatedly punching a customer to the floor demanded compensation for his dirtied jumper as his victim lay dying, a court heard today.
Edward Ives was said to have dealt "powerful blows" to 30-year-old Ben Mahoney after trouble flared between them in the House on the Hill kebab and pizza shop in East Hill, Dartford.
Maidstone Crown Court heard that as Mr Mahoney lay prone and unresponsive on the floor behind the shop counter, Ives demanded payment for the "inconvenience" of his stained sleeve.
The 29-year-old was also refunded the money he had paid for his kebab and burger before striding out of the shop, beer can in his hand, and closely followed by a friend carrying his jacket.
Ives, who is known as Eddy, was found less than two hours later hiding under a children's bed at a nearby address in St Roman's View, jurors were told.
Mr Mahoney died at the scene from a haemorrhage to an artery in his neck caused by a sudden and twisting motion to the head and neck.
Staff who had intervened in an initial outburst of violence between the pair were said to be "too frightened" by Ives to have tried to break it up for a second time.
Ben Mahoney died after trouble flared at a Dartford takeaway
Ives, formerly from Gravesend but now of no fixed address, denies manslaughter on April 12.
Maidstone Crown Court was told Ives was "demanding, aggressive and looking for trouble" when he went into the takeaway at just before 11.30pm.
Mr Mahoney, of St Martin's Road, Newtown, Dartford, was waiting for his own food order when he challenged Ives over his attitude and told him to calm down. Neither man knew each other.
Mr Mahoney even took off his glasses and "almost certainly" threw the first punch, explained prosecutor Ian Hope.
The pair started fighting and Ives took off his jacket. "He was effectively going berserk," added Mr Hope.
Staff intervened and Ives was pushed out the door. However, Ives was said to have simply turned and walked back in.
Scroll down for video
The Dartford takeaway where Ben Mahoney died
"Mr Mahoney fled around the back of the counter and Ives pursued him," said the prosecutor, outlining the case to the jury of six men and six women.
"He punched him repeatedly to the area of the head and they were powerful blows.
"Mr Mahoney collapsed to the floor. Those watching and those who had tried to stop the first fight were simply too frightened to intervene at all in this fight because of the aggression and violence coming from Ives, the force of the blows he was using and his general conduct to all those in the shop."
Mr Mahoney was described as being "wholly unresponsive" as staff then tried to unsuccessfully help him to his feet.
Friends of Ben Mahoney gathered to light Chinese lanterns in a tribute
As he lay on the floor, Ives was alleged to have continued to swipe food from the counter, including a cup of Turkish tea Mr Mahoney had been given shortly before Ives appeared in the shop.
"He also demanded payment for the inconvenience of having dirtied his sleeve," continued Mr Hope.
"The terrified staff paid him the £30 he demanded in compensation and the money he had already paid for his kebab and burger.
"He then left, striding out of the restaurant."
Following his arrest, Ives gave a prepared statement in which he said Mr Mahoney had punched and grabbed him for no reason, and questioned whether he was "a hard man".
He later stated Mr Mahoney threw a punch, but that before it connected he had punched Mr Mahoney to the face in self-defence, using reasonable force to prevent a further assault on himself.
Mr Hope told the court Ives's statement made no mention of the opportunity to desist from trouble having been pushed out of the shop, or repeated punches.
He explained that for self-defence to be lawful, it must be "reasonable and necessary".
This was not the case, he added, for Ives.
Tributes to Ben Mahoney outside The Woodman pub in Dartford
Flowers laid outside Dartford pub The Woodman
Friends and family of Ben Mahoney left touching tributes to him
"The death of Ben Mahoney was occasioned by brutish, unlawful violence, meted out for no reason other than Ives was looking for a fight," said Mr Hope.
"Once he had been challenged by Mr Mahoney to that and once he had the temerity to throw a punch, Ives was not prepared to leave that location until he had put him down on the floor.
"That, in tragic circumstances, took away the life of Mr Mahoney."
The trial continues.
Video: Police at the scene of the Dartford kebab shop death
Stories you might have missed
- Click here for more Dartford news
- Click here for more news from across the county