AN inquest into the death of a 55-year-old man who was punched in the head during a pub quiz yesterday heard that the man who delivered the fatal blow had not been tried in court.
Several witnesses have told the hearing that Kamlesh Ruparelia did nothing to provoke Kieran Beresford, 37, who launched the attack in the White Rose pub in Handsworth, Sheffield.
But the coroner was told that no charges were pursued by the Crown Prosecution Service, which was “unable to disprove” a claim of self-defence made by Mr Beresford a few days after the incident.
The inquest heard that Mr Ruparelia, 55, went down “like a skittle” after being struck, with witnesses claiming Mr Beresford had been “interfering” in the quiz and was apparently making racist remarks.
Mr Ruparelia, who fled persecution in Uganda in the 1970s as a 17-year-old and became a successful property manager, owning a takeaway and two supermarkets, died four days later in hospital from a head injury.
His attacker was charged with manslaughter but when the case was brought to Sheffield Crown Court the CPS offered no evidence in light of the self-defence claim and Mr Beresford walked free.
Mr Ruparelia, from Dore, Sheffield was struck on October 28, 2010. Mr Beresford, of Darnall, Sheffield, was arrested that evening and in a police interview the next day admitted striking Mr Ruparelia.
His victim’s life support machine was switched off four days later.
Mr Beresford, who claimed to have drunk seven pints, did not raise the issue of self-defence during his first police interview.
It was only two days after the death when re-interviewed by police that he raised the question of self-defence through his solicitor. He then exercised his right not to answer any further questions.
But witness Shelley Brown, who was in the pub celebrating her birthday on the night, said Mr Ruparelia, known as Kam, was a friend of hers and “would never go looking for a fight”.
She said: “I saw him hit Kam in the face. He hit him that hard his glasses flew off his face on to the pool table. I heard him say the word Paki.
“I wouldn’t say he was drunk I would say he was on something else, the way he was acting. He was just loud we were trying to do a quiz and he was interfering.”
The hearing continues.