Boxer’s tears as he recalls fatal punch

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A FORMER boxer wept in court as he described delivering a single punch which led to the death of a Sheffield dad.

Bradley Hinkler, aged 20, told Sheffield Crown Court he lies awake at night thinking about the moment he hit 26-year-old Thomas Gower outside the Alibi bar on Trippet Lane.

Hinkler, of Kilvington Road, Woodthorpe, is accused of murdering Mr Gower, from Gleadless Valley. He denies the charge, along with one count of GBH against Mr Gower’s friend Richard Howard, and claims he was acting in self defence.

Taking the witness stand for the first time, Hinkler told the jury he was ‘devastated’ by the incidents of December 18, 2010.

Shedding tears, he said: “Someone has died, they have lost a life, and so has their family. At night it’s hard to sleep.”

The court heard Hinkler dealt Mr Gower a right hook from behind shortly after knocking out Mr Howard, who believed Hinkler had injured two of his friends during a brawl inside the bar earlier in the evening.

Hinkler said he acted in self defence after the two men followed him out of the venue.

He claimed Mr Howard - who police confirmed is a member of the Blades Business Crew group of football hooligans - was carrying a bottle, though the prosecution deny that.

Hinkler said: “I was walking outside and I heard a shout from behind, saying ‘Oi!’

“It was Dick Howard and his friend. I knew he was a member of the BBC.”

“I felt threatened. I realised Dick Howard was holding a bottle in his left hand.

“I was in a no-win situation. I knew if I turned around and walked away I would have got bottled. So I threw a punch at Dick Howard.”

Hinkler said he then heard Mr Gower say he was going to get a knife.

“I was nervous. I thought he was going to come back with a knife and his friends. I decided to chase him so he wouldn’t come back. I hit him and he just dropped to the floor with a right bang.”

Mr Gower suffered serious head injuries and died eight days later.

The trial continues.