One punch led to teen’s death after fracas outside pizza takeaway

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A DISABLED teenager suffered a fatal head injury when he hit his head on the pavement after a single punch during an altercation in a shopping precinct, an inquest heard.

Doncaster Coroner Nicola Mundy is hearing four days of evidence surrounding the death of David Cox, aged 18, in June 2009 after Crown Prosecution Service lawyers declined to prosecute anyone over the incident on Nostell Place, Bessacarr.

David, of Hallam Close, Bessacarr, was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome as a child and his parents moved to Doncaster from Leicester for a better life.

They have since moved back but his mum, Heidi Cox, is representing the family at the inquest.

She said her son was badly behaved as a child because of his condition but had improved in the 18 months before he died. Usually he wouldn’t speak to other people he did not know and she had never seen him be aggressive after drinking alcohol.

David suffered the brain injury on the evening of June 1 in 2009 and his life support machine was switched off the next day.

Earlier in the evening he had been drinking beer in Haslam Park with his sister and her boyfriend and they walked back to the shops with some other teenagers who had been playing football.

One of them, Jamie Clayton, said they came upon a group of older men outside Luciano’s pizza takeaway who were giving them ‘dirty looks and glaring’.

Gazmir Hoxha, a chef at Luciano’s, gave evidence that David’s group and the older men were shouting and swearing at each other and he asked them to be quiet.

When he came out of the shop again Mr Hoxha said he ‘knew it was going to be a bit serious’ and urged them to stay apart but David was ‘hyper’ and throwing punches.

He said David hit one of the group, Carl Reade, and he got between them.

“I think Carl reacted, he hit David as well. David moved back a few feet and then he fell on the floor, face first. It was a nasty fall, he didn’t put his arms out to stop his fall.

“The group of boys were shocked and David got up again and this time he fell straight back on his head. I pushed Carl away and he got really scared.”

A customer gave David first aid but Mr Hoxha said David was unconscious and breathing ‘really heavy’.

The inquest resumes today with Mr Reade’s evidence.