A MAN thought to have dealt a fatal blow to a Sheffield dad who was floored in a pub was not the aggressor, an inquest was told.
Takeaway owner Kamlesh Ruparelia, aged 55, died after being knocked to the floor during trouble at The White Rose pub in Handsworth in October 2010.
Kieran Beresford, 38, of Darnall, 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 say the decision not to prosecute was ‘a miscarriage of justice’.
But the pub’s licensee Steven Booth told the inquest Mr Beresford was not being aggressive - and had pushed Mr Ruparelia after being backed against a wall.
Mr Booth, who was licensee at The White Rose for four-and-a-half years but now runs a pub in Nantwich, Cheshire, said he knew both men – whom he called Bez and Kam – as customers.
He said on the night of the incident he had been in his office when a barmaid came to fetch him as there was ‘a bit of a problem’ happening in the tap room.
When Mr Booth entered the room he saw a man called Jay – Mr Ruparelia’s cousin Jayendra Kotecha – pick up a glass from a table and move towards Mr Beresford.
Mr Booth grabbed him and wrestled the glass from his hand.
He told the hearing: “I feared the glass was going to be used as a weapon, so I took it off him and held him back.
“Bez was against the wall with Kam in front of him.
“I heard Bez say, ‘Go away I don’t need this’ - he then pushed him back and Kam fell on to the floor.”
When asked if the push was a punch, Mr Booth said: “It was more a push than a punch.”
He said he was not aware what had caused the confrontation, and told the inquest both Mr Beresford and Mr Ruparelia were regulars who often spoke to each other.
Mr Booth described Mr Ruparelia as a quiet man and said he had not been ‘mouthing off’ on the night of the incident.
He said Mr Beresford was ‘very loud’ but that he never had any trouble with him.
Mr Booth added: “It was Jay who was the aggressor.”
Mr Beresford is said to have made a racist remark as Mr Ruparelia and Mr Kotecha, who were n the pub celebrating a friend’s birthday, played pool with a group of women.
Barmaid Jay Chapman told the inquest she heard the three men raise their voices in the tap room.
She said she heard Mr Beresford say: “It was only a joke.”
The hearing continues.