House on the Hill kebab shop owner Cafir Zorlu tells court of moment customer Ben Mahoney left 'dead standing up' after beating by Eddie Ives
The owner of a Dartford takeaway has told a court of the harrowing moment a customer was left “dead standing up” during a fatal fight.
Cafir Zorlu, who is the manager of House on the Hill kebab and pizza shop in East Hill, graphically described how Ben Mahoney was too dazed to fight back during the alleged beating from another customer, Eddy Ives.
At one stage, he was leaning against a fridge behind the shop counter in order to support himself and appeared to have no sense of what was going on, the jury was told.
Ben Mahoney died after trouble flared at a Dartford takeaway
However, Mr Zorlu said Ives continued to throw punches and "didn't want to stop".
Giving evidence at Maidstone Crown Court, Mr Zorlu said: "I have never seen a person die before but you could tell he was dead standing up.
"You could hear the punches. If Ben did not die I'm assuming he would have been paralysed somehow. The punches were just too strong."
Mr Zorlu said he caught Mr Mahoney as he collapsed and laid him in the recovery position on the floor.
"You couldn't see the pupil in his eyes," he continued. "It wasn't there. He was shaking a lot, maybe in shock.
"Then I think Ben was throwing up. There was liquid coming out of his mouth."
Mr Zorlu said Ives continued to threaten him and his two staff members as they tried to tend to Mr Mahoney.
Eddy Ives is on trial accused of manslaughter
"He was saying he was going to kill us and come back for Ben and burn this place down.”
When asked whether Mr Mahoney reacted, Mr Zorlu replied. "As I said, Ben was dead standing up. He was already dead."
Ives, 29, of no fixed address but formerly from Gravesend, denies manslaughter. He told police following his arrest he acted in self-defence.
Trouble flared just before 11.30pm on April 12 when Mr Mahoney commented on whether Ives wanted a chicken kebab with his order, to which Ives replied it had nothing to do with him.
Mr Zorlu agreed that Mr Mahoney did not appear to take "too kindly" to Ives's comment, telling him (Mr Zorlu) that he wanted to hit Ives.
Mr Zorlu said the situation “escalated” and the two men became embroiled in a verbal exchange.
Mr Mahoney called Ives 'arrogant' and punches were then shared between the men.
However, Mr Zorlu said he believed Mr Mahoney “felt uncomfortable” and backed off. He described his punches as “ineffective” while Ives’s were “really hard”.
Staff began to pull Mr Mahoney behind the counter while Ives was pushed out of the door.
But Mr Zorlu told the court Ives came back in, threatening to "kill you all".
Tributes to Ben Mahoney outside The Woodman pub in Dartford
"He was a guy who wanted to get his revenge, I suppose," added Mr Zorlu. "He was just angry."
By this stage Mr Mahoney was leaning against the fridge and the staff tried to keep Ives away from him.
But Mr Zorlu said Ives pushed past them and continued to punch Mr Mahoney. "Ben didn't have the sense to fight back," explained Mr Zorlu.
"He didn't have sense of navigation or what was around him. I think the punches had affected him. He was just not normal Ben.
"I have never seen a person die before but you could tell he was dead standing up" - Cafir Zorlu
"At that point it should have stopped. It would have been enough. For a fight, it would have been enough to just walk away.
"I said: 'You've nearly killed him anyway.' We were screaming and shouting but he just wouldn't leave. I don't know if it was intentional but he did say he wanted to kill him."
Still trying to keep Ives away, Mr Mahoney ended up by a soft drinks machine at the other end of the counter. But Ives continued to punch him, said Mr Zorlu.
"I think you need to understand that Ben had lost control of his senses and by the time he got to the Coca Cola machine he was not recognising the situation. He doesn't know what was going on.
"He had a couple of instant bruises on his face and lumps on his head. His eyes were rolling. He wasn't looking straight. He didn't have control of his hands.
The Dartford takeaway where Ben Mahoney died
"Ben was standing, knocked out. He wasn't retaliating, he wasn't fighting back. He was just standing there but I don't think he had the power to stay there, the strength. He was leaning, just to rest, to get himself together.
"Eddy Ives was still throwing punches and trying to get to him. Eddy Ives didn't want to stop."
The trial continues.
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