Boy of 16 killed veteran, 82, for ticking him off after he was larking around with pals on shopping centre escalator, court hears
A teenager punched and killed an 82-year-old Army veteran who had told him off for messing around in a shopping centre, a court heard yesterday.
Dennis Clarke, 82, died in hospital nine days after the alleged attack in Derby city centre
The boy, 16, allegedly knocked Dennis Clarke to the ground, fracturing his skull and causing a bleed on the brain.
Now 17, he cannot be named because of his age. He denies manslaughter, claiming to be acting in self-defence when he hit Mr Clarke at a bus station in Derby on May 6 last year. Mr Clarke died in hospital nine days later.
David Outterside, prosecuting, told Derby Crown Court a security guard at the Derbion centre had told the defendant and two sidekicks aged 13 to leave after Mr Clarke spoke to them for walking up the escalators the wrong way.
The trio followed him to the bus station where they filmed and attacked him. Mr Outterside said: ‘This was not self-defence, not in a million years.
‘This was a punch thrown in anger because Dennis Clarke had the temerity to tell him and his friends off. He was 82 and was surrounded by three fit teenagers.’
Mr Outterside played CCTV of the attack. The prosecutor said: ‘Dennis Clarke never got up from that punch.’
He added: ‘(Mr Clarke) gave those three boys a telling off for what they were doing on the escalator.
‘[The defendant] and his two friends were not happy about this telling off.
He continued: ‘(The defendant) was just 16 years of age when he threw that punch, it was a fatal punch which put Dennis Clarke to the floor and resulted in a skull fracture.’
Mr Outterside also told the jury: ‘One witness will tell you that after he threw the punch (the defendant) said ‘d***head’ as he walked away.
‘There is no issue that the punch caused the death of Dennis Clarke and there is absolutely no issue (the defendant) threw it.’
He said members of the public went to help Mr Clarke, while the defendant ran away but was caught and arrested by police not far away.
Mr Clarke was taken to the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, where his condition worsened and he died on 15 May 2021.
Witness Kelly Edges told the trial how she was working as a security guard on the day of the incident.
She said: ‘I was doing a few patrols from about 4pm and at around 4.30pm I saw a few lads on the escalators.
‘The escalator was moving up and one of the lads was trying to move down it.
‘As I approached there was a gentleman talking to the three lads, he was just telling them to stop messing around on the escalator.
‘One of the lads was sizing up the gentleman, I got in between him and the elderly man.
‘I asked the three lads to move on and everyone did.’
Dressed in a black shirt the teenager was supported by his father and sister in the public gallery. Members of Mr Clarke’s family were also in court.
No further action is being taken against two other teenage boys who were arrested at the time in connection with the same incident.
Mr Clarke, who had no children and was unmarried, was a former solider, fisherman and regular churchgoer.
Following his death, loved ones described him as ‘fit, active and healthy’ and looking forward to turning 100 to get his Telegram from the Queen.
The trial continues.