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Brothers go on trial accused of manslaughter of club doorman at Decades, in Consett
A DOORMAN died of bleeding from a burst artery caused by the stress of a fight involving two brothers who had been ejected from a nightclub, a jury was told today (Tuesday, October 8).
Peter Jopling, 40, from Shotley Bridge, who had been unaware of a weakness in the wall of his renal artery, collapsed minutes after violence between John and Scott McKean and doormen, outside Decades nightclub, in Consett, County Durham.
Graham Reeds QC, prosecuting, said although there was no evidence that Mr Jopling had been directly involved in the violence, the brothers were responsible for his manslaughter as his death was the result of their “unlawful act”.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the chain of events began after John McKean, 37, was asked to leave the club for lighting up a cigarette at about 3.20am on December 12, 2010.
Scott McKean, 38, also got involved and after some “pushing and shoving” they were both put out of the club through the fire door.
Mr Reeds said the younger brother returned from half way down the fire stairs and kicked the door.
When doormen emerged, the brothers started fighting with them. In the ensuing melee, Scott and one of the doormen rolled to the bottom of the stairs together, as John continued to fight at the top.
CCTV footage of the incident showed Mr Jopling descending the stairs quickly, but the prosecution accepts it was not clear whether he fell or was rushing to help his colleague.
Mr Reeds said witnesses would describe Scott taking off his shirt, growling, throwing haymakers and goading others to fight him.
After the brothers left the scene, Mr Jopling slumped against a gaming machine inside the club and collapsed.
Mr Reeds said: “The cause of death, identified by pathologists, was blood loss from a rupture of an aneurysm – or weakness in the wall – of the renal artery.
“The prosecution says that rupture of the aneurysm was not spontaneous or coincidental, but was caused by a sudden release of adrenalin to the blood stream and corresponding surge in blood pressure.
“That was in turn was caused by the stress of being subject to this violent attack.”
Following his arrest, Scott told police he had acted in self defence when doormen had reacted “over-zealously” and punched him first, while John said only had a vague recollection of what had happened.
The brothers, both of Durham Road, Blackhill, Consett, have denied manslaughter and affray.
The trial continues.