Ex-boxer Eddy Ives accused of beating Ben Mahoney to death at House on the Hill kebab shop in Dartford had just been released from prison, court told
A one-time champion schoolboy boxer accused of beating a kebab shop customer to death was on licence from prison for witness intimidation, a court heard.
Eddy Ives, who was also said to be a potential teenage Olympic hopeful, had been released from custody just six weeks before he is alleged to have killed electrician Ben Mahoney.
On the night of the alleged attack, 29-year-old Ives admitted he had taken crack cocaine and was upset after his girlfriend had thrown him out of her Gravesend home.
Eddy Ives is on trial accused of manslaughter
Maidstone Crown Court heard that during the violence in the House on the Hill takeaway, in East Hill, Dartford, Ives feared 30-year-old Mr Mahoney would arm himself with a knife.
The father-of-two, who has numerous convictions for violence, claimed he resorted to punching Mr Mahoney in self-defence.
He told the jury he was not "looking for trouble" that evening, as alleged by the prosecution, and wanted nothing more than a kebab.
Furthermore, he said he had not realised the serious consequences to Mr Mahoney when he left the fast food shop.
Ben Mahoney died after trouble flared at a Dartford takeaway
"If I thought he was seriously hurt I would have helped the boy," Ives explained. "I didn't mean to hurt him. It's just terrible what happened. Tragic."
His voice trembled as he later added: "I feel devastated. It's made me feel ill. I have got to live with it for the rest of my life.
"He was only a young lad, weren't he? Only my age. It's just a tragic accident. It's a terrible shame."
Ives, of no fixed address but previously from Gravesend, denies manslaughter. Mr Mahoney, of St Martin's Road, Newtown, Dartford, died at the scene from a haemorrhage to an artery in his neck caused by a sudden and twisting motion.
He suffered four "significant" impact injuries, any one of which could have been the fatal blow, the court was told.
It is accepted by the prosecution, however, that Mr Mahoney was the first to throw a punch.
Ives had been released from prison on March 1. He went to live with his girlfriend, Angela, whose name is tattooed on his neck.
But she threw him out on April 11 after she discovered he had been smoking cannabis, the court heard.
The following evening, Ives was drinking Stella lager with friends in Dartford. He phoned Angela, saying he wanted to go home, but the court heard she told him "not to bother".
The Dartford takeaway where Ben Mahoney died
Ives admitted he was upset. "I loved the girl to bits and just wanted to go home," he said.
Just after 11pm, he went to the House on the Hill and ordered a kebab and two cheeseburgers. He denied being aggressive and demanding with staff.
Ives said he was leaning on the counter when Mr Mahoney made a comment about his food order. Ives told the court he replied: "It's nothing to do with you what I want mate" and then turned his back.
"I went out for a kebab, I didn't go out for no trouble. I was quite annoyed..." - defendant Eddy Ives
He said Mr Mahoney then grabbed the hood on his top, which bore a Superman logo. "He said: 'You think you are a big, hard man do you?' and went whack, whack and hit me on the back of the head."
Ives said he asked Mr Mahoney what he was doing, at which point Mr Mahoney beckoned him to fight.
Asked by his defence counsel Patrick Upward QC whether he wanted to fight, Ives replied: "I couldn't get in trouble. I hadn't long been out of prison. I have got two children. I couldn't afford to get into trouble."
Ives said Mr Mahoney hit him again.
CCTV watched by the jury showed Ives going out of the takeaway door for two seconds before returning. It was claimed he was pushed out.
Tributes to Ben Mahoney outside The Woodman pub in Dartford
However, Ives said he went outside "for a breather" and to calm down. He claimed he then simply returned for his food, not to fight, but Mr Mahoney hit him again.
"He then shot behind the counter. I thought he was going to grab a knife or something so I went around the counter to hit him to stop him."
Asked what made him fear Mr Mahoney might arm himself, Ives told the jury he had been stabbed in the face and twice in the shoulder the previous year.
He added: "I ran behind the counter and saw him running by the coke machine so I hit him a couple of times and then came back round.
"There's big knives around there. I thought he was going to grab one."
Ives said Mr Mahoney then fell over.
During the trial, the court has heard from several witnesses that as Mr Mahoney lay unconscious, Ives threatened staff and Mr Mahoney's friend, Billy Cheetham, as well as demanded compensation for a stained sleeve.
Describing his mood in the immediate aftermath, Ives said: "I was a bit upset, do you know what I mean? I went out for a kebab, I didn't go out for no trouble. I was quite annoyed."
The jury is expected to retire tomorrow.
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