Street fight victim Israr Ellahi was punched in Sneyd Arms pub attack
A MAN who died following a street brawl spoke to police about a separate incident barely an hour earlier.
Israr Ellahi died in hospital 13 days after suffering a fractured skull during a disturbance in Roundwell Street, Tunstall.
A long-awaited inquest into the 30-year-old's death finally got underway at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday, more than two years after Mr Ellahi's death on June 18, 2010.
The court heard how the victim had been involved in a fight at the Sneyd Arms Hotel in Tunstall at around 10pm on the night in question.
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Mr Ellahi, of Stanley Street, Tunstall, was punched in the face by Karl Pearce, after he had been told to leave by bar staff.
Police were called to the pub and spoke to Mr Ellahi, who complained that he had been assaulted. But before he could be questioned further he left the scene.
Less than an hour later officers were called to Roundwell Street where Mr Ellahi lay seriously injured.
Sneyd Arms customer Susan Foster described an argument between Mr Ellahi and barmaid Janet Harrison.
Ms Harrison had asked Mr Ellahi to drink up and leave after he had refused to remove his hat.
Mr Ellahi then leaned over the bar and accused Ms Harrison of being racist.
Ms Foster said: "He was being nasty about it. I tapped him on the shoulder and told him she wasn't being racist. I said we'd all come for a good night and didn't want any trouble." Ms Foster could see Mr Pearce was watching the incident from the other end of the bar. She advised him not to get involved.
Ms Foster added: "I said to him to just leave it, just let it go."
The court was shown CCTV footage of Mr Ellahi walking towards Mr Pearce, who was beckoning him onwards.
Mr Pearce then suddenly struck out, knocking Mr Ellahi to the floor with a single punch.
Garry Plimbley, who had been drinking with Mr Pearce, said Mr Ellahi had been trying to provoke his friend.
He said: "He was shouting 'you have your queen but we have your country'. That was before he was punched."
The confrontation continued outside the pub, with Mr Ellahi following Mr Pearce, demanding to know why he had punched him.
Mr Plimbley attempted to calm down Mr Ellahi, who then punched him in the face.
Mr Pearce and Mr Plimbley then left in a taxi.
PC James Addison was one of several officers who attended the Sneyd Arms. They spoke with Mr Ellahi, who showed them a cut inside his lip.
PC Addison said: "He was agitated, and I could smell alcohol on him. He didn't want to provide us with much information. He said he needed the toilet and didn't return."
Mr Pearce, who was not involved in the later incident, was fined £100 after being found guilty of threatening behaviour. Six men were sentenced to a total of 16-and-a-half years in prison for their part in the Roundwell Street disturbance. But two were later relased. The inquest was scheduled to continue today.