A MAN who dealt a punch which knocked out a Sheffield dad, leading to his death, told an inquest he only ‘jabbed’ his victim - as he feared he was about to be glassed in the face.
Kieran Beresford, aged 38, struck takeaway owner Kamlesh Ruparelia, 55, from Dore, during a dispute at The White Rose pub in Handsworth.
Mr Beresford, of Prince of Wales Road, Handsworth, was arrested following the incident and later charged with manslaughter.
But the case was dropped when the Crown Prosecution Service said it would be unable to disprove he had acted in self-defence.
The family are unhappy with the decision, calling it a ‘miscarriage of justice’.
Mr Beresford told Sheffield Coroner’s Court he drank ‘a few pints’ in The White Rose on most week days after work.
He claimed Mr Ruparelia - known as Kam - suddenly started shouting at him on the night of the incident in October 2010, shortly after he spoke to a girl in the pub.
“I’d said something flirty like, ‘Ooh, you’re nice, I’ve not seen you here before’.
“Kam started shouting at me saying, ‘What are you saying this to her for?’ I tried to calm him down.”
Mr Beresford said Mr Ruparelia’s cousin Jayendra Kotecha, nicknamed Jay, then became involved.
“Out of the blue Jay jumped on me and started shoving me across the room. Kam then joined in, I was getting shoved into the pool table.
“Kam grabbed me by the throat and he had a glass in his hand to go at my face.
“I had my hands behind my back to support me. I was fearful for my own safety. I raised my arm and just jabbed him to prevent him from glassing me. I had put up with the attack. It was a punch to defend myself.”
Mr Beresford denied the punch was forceful.
“It wasn’t possible, two men were physically on top of me and I was bent over backwards,” he said.
“I had done my utmost to try and not retaliate.
“I couldn’t understand where the situation had come from.”
Following his arrest, Mr Beresford told police he had drunk ‘nine or 10’ pints of cider on the night, and said to officers: “I only gave him a tap - it was retaliation. I just lashed out at him.”
In interview, he also admitted carrying a police baton, to fend off dogs who would fight his American Bulldog.
At the inquest, Mr Beresford said: “I’ve got no comment to make on that.”
Mr Beresford is said to have made a racist remark while Mr Ruparelia played pool with his cousin and a group of women.
Pathologist Dr Philip Lumb, who examined Mr Ruparelia’s body, said he suffered facial bruising and a fractured skull.
“To render someone unconscious you need a heavy punch,” he said.
The inquest continues.