Witnesses recall how street brawl led to Israr Ellahi's death 13 days later
WITNESSES have told how an argument escalated into a street brawl that left one man fighting for his life.
Israr Ellahi died in hospital 13 days after suffering a fractured skull during the incident in Roundwell Street, Tunstall, on June 18, 2010.
The inquest into Mr Ellahi's death, which continued at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court yesterday, heard how the 30-year-old had fallen to the ground after being punched in the face.
Several witnesses described how the blow was struck during a fight between Mr Ellahi's brothers and friends and a group of white youths.
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The court heard that Mr Ellahi, of Stanley Street, Tunstall, and many of the youths had been drinking heavily on the night in question.
Amanda Dodd said she had seen her then-boyfriend Lewis Gilpin talking with Mr Ellahi, who had two children with Gilpin's sister.
While Miss Dodd said this discussion had been friendly, other witnesses said the pair had been arguing.
Miss Dodd said another youth, Danny Munro, had later arrived and had acted aggressively towards Mr Ellahi.
She said: "He was shouting in Israr's face. He was drunk. I don't remember what he was saying.
"Israr tried ringing someone a couple of times."
Israr and a large group of white youths eventually congregated close to the White Hart pub in Roundwell Street.
Other witnesses said that Munro had actually been acting as a peacemaker between Gilpin and Mr Ellahi.
But a short time later a number of Asian men, including Mr Ellahi's brother Isbar Ellahi, arrived at the scene in a car.
Munro was seen to run to the car and kick the passenger's door, apparently in an attempt to stop the men getting out.
A violent confrontation between the two groups then erupted.
Miss Dodd described how at one point Mr Ellahi and two other Asian men were grappling with Munro.
She said: "Danny somehow managed to get his arm free and punch Israr.
"He hit him right in the face.
"Israr wobbled a bit and just fell to the floor. I heard his head crack on the floor. It rebounded and then went back down. I didn't see Israr get up again.
"Israr was a fighter. He'd fight anybody. He'd always get back up, so I just thought he would get up." Another witness Christopher Leadbetter, told the court that he had not been involved in the brawl, but had arrived at the scene and found Mr Ellahi lying on the ground.
He said: "I went up to Israr. He was on the floor and I could see blood coming out of his mouth. A police officer radioed for an ambulance and another officer asked us to take a step back."
Paramedics and basics doctor Ian Ballard arrived at the scene and treated Mr Ellahi.
Dr Ballard told the inquest how he had to sedate Mr Ellahi because he had been fighting off those who had been trying to help him.
He said: "We wanted to attach a neck collar and spinal board so we could transfer him to the ambulance but he wasn't letting us do that.
"I didn't want to reduce his level of consciousness too far though."
Dr Ballard said that, in his opinion, the police officers at the scene had done all they could to treat Mr Ellahi before the arrival of the ambulance.
The court heard how prior to the incident outside the White Hart pub, Munro and his friend Rian Winspare had been involved in a disturbance at Tiger Bites takeaway in Tunstall.
Munro, Winspare, Gilpin and another youth, Joshua Taylor, subsequently admitted violent disorder and were given prison sentences of up to two years and nine months.
The inquest is expected to continue tomorrow.