Elm Park man was killed with a single punch to the head from a stranger

Shaun McDermott died in February. Picture: Metropolitan Police

Shaun McDermott died in February. Picture: Metropolitan Police - Credit: Archant

An estate agent is accused of killing a stranger with a single punch to the face after they crossed paths outside a Romford pub.

Shaun McDermott, 44, was making his way home from a night out when he was knocked to the ground by 29-year-old Sean Boggans, jurors were told.

Mr McDermott cracked his head on the pavement outside the Havering Oak in South Street, and died from his head injuries, the Old Bailey heard.

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehurst said: “When Mr McDermott was found lying on the pavement the police were called to the scene. An ambulance then took him to Queen’s Hospital in Romford.

“However, at 8am, Mr McDermott’s family were told that he wouldn’t recover – his life support machine was switched off and he died at 10am.

“A post-mortem carried out on Mr McDermott showed that he had bruising to the lower half of his lip, the place where the punch was delivered.

“The punch caused him to go flat on his head, fracturing his skull, causing bleeding to his brain which put pressure on the brain and made it shift its position – a subdural haematoma, which is a massive bleed on the brain.”

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Mr McDermott, of Benhurst Avenue, Elm Park, had spent the night of February 2 with sisters, Maureen and Kathy, at the nearby Wheatsheaf pub before heading home at about 1am.

But moments later he allegedly crossed paths with Boggans, of Ongar Road, Brentvvood, outside the Havering Oak.

CCTV from outside the pub showed a man, said to be Boggans, throwing a right-hand punch which struck Mr McDermott in the face.

After Mr McDermott fell to the ground, the man and a friend could be seen walking away down the street.

The court was told footage from inside the pub also showed Boggans play fighting with his mates before the incident.

Ms Whitehurst said: “The question is whether or not that punch was a lawful punch, whether it was a punch made in anger or frustration, or whether the punch was delivered in self-defence.”