Penygroes pensioner 'died as result of a single push' court hears
2:15pm Monday 2nd December 2013 in News
A PENYGROES pensioner died after a single push following a trivial argument in the centre of Ammanford, a crown court jury heard today.
Roy Taylor, aged 69, appeared to recover after banging his head on a manhole cover.
But his condition deteriorated and he died nine days later from injuries to his brain, the court was told.
Steffan Russell Ballantine, aged 36, denies manslaughter and this morning went on trial before a jury at Swansea crown court.
Ballantine, of 101 Cwmaman Road, Glanaman, told police after his arrest that he thought Mr Taylor was about to attack him and defended himself with reasonable force.
But Patrick Griffiths, prosecuting, said: “there can be no justification for such a sudden and violent act.”
CCTV cameras showed a group of people standing outside the Miners Welfare club in Wind Street, Ammanford, shortly after 9pm on August 20 last year.
Mr Griffiths said Mr Taylor appeared to be animated and could be seen gesticulating towards Ballantine. Although there was no soundtrack it seemed words were being exchanged about, amongst other things, the whereabouts of Mr Taylor’s son, Malcolm.
Ballantine, he added, could be seen to push Mr Taylor into Samantha Lewis. He continued to fall backwards and his head hit a manhole cover.
Mr Griffiths said Mr Taylor appeared to recover and refused to go to hospital. He went back inside the club and when police arrived he told them only that he had fallen over.
Mr Taylor was taken home to 136 Waterloo Road, Penygroes, by Alan Gimlet, who left him “up and about and eating something in the kitchen.”
Mr Taylor’s son Alan arrived home and about midnight heard a bang coming from the bathroom as his father fell over.
Mr Taylor went to bed and his son took the family dog for a short walk.
When he got back he heard another bang, this time as his father fell over in his bedroom.
Mr Griffiths said the bangs were so loud they were heard by Mr Taylor’s next door neighbour Susan Bishop.
He was taken to the West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen where a CT scan revealed a fracture to his skull and bleeding and swelling to the brain.
The bleeding expanded and he died on August 29, nine days after the incident.
After his arrest Ballantine refused to answer any questions but gave police a prepared statement in which he said he had acted in self-defence.
Mr Griffiths told the jury: “The defendant is charged with the manslaughter, not murder. The prosecution does not say that he intended to kill Roy Taylor or that he intended to cause the very serious injuries Mr Taylor suffered.
“During the course of an argument the defendant unlawfully and forcefully pushed Roy Taylor, something from which Mr Taylor suffered head injuries from which he later died.”
Mr Griffiths said Mr Taylor had been drinking for some time before the incident and a man affected by drink may be less likely to protect himself during a fall and may not appreciate that he had suffered a serious injury.
At one point he had approached Deborah Ely, who got the impression he was trying to start an argument with her.
Ballantine told police in his statement that he had told Mr Taylor he should not have upset her, and that Mr Taylor had told him “to keep your nose out of it.”
The case continues.