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A drunken young woman who knocked a man unconscious during a confrontation in the street has been cleared of causing his death.
Kelsea O’Hara, then aged 19, attacked Andrew Turner, 58, after he refused to apologise for bumping into her friend on a night out in Bridlington, East Yorkshire.
Mr Turner fell to the ground, hit his head, and died six days later on September 3 last year, Hull Crown Court heard.
After his death, Humberside Police launched a murder investigation.
Despite Mr Turner passing away within a week of the attack, a pathologist and a neuropathologist confirmed that O’Hara was not responsible for his death.
Mr Turner’s cause of death was not mentioned by the court.
Kelsea O’Hara, then aged 19, punched Andrew Turner, 58, in the face. He hit the floor and had a five to seven inch cut on the back of his head
Andrew Turner, 58, died six days after the attack in Bridlington last year
The court heard that O’Hara attacked Mr Turner after he didn’t apologise for bumping into her friend on August 28 last year.
O’Hara, now 20, of Trinity Road, Bridlington, pleaded guilty to wounding. She was spared an immediate jail term for the attack and given a six-month curfew.
Andrew Espley, prosecuting, said that Mr Turner went out for drinks in Bridlington with a friend where O’Hara and four of her friends were also out drinking.
Mr Turner’s friend knew one of O’Hara’s friends and he apologised to her for an incident a couple of weeks earlier.
At around 1.30am, O’Hara confronted Mr Turner in Marlborough Terrace and asked him if he would apologise to one of her friends, whom he had accidentally walked into, but he refused.
Mr Espley said: ‘O’Hara threw her purse onto the floor and launched herself at Mr Turner, punching him in the face once and causing him to lose consciousness when he fell to the floor, hitting his head in the process when he fell.’
Mr Turner, of Bridlington, suffered a cut of five to seven inches to the back of his head and was bleeding.
Mr Espley said: ‘He tried to get up when he regained consciousness but could not do so.’
Police and paramedics arrived but Mr Turner refused to go to hospital, where his injuries were not initially believed to be life-threatening.
They next day, O’Hara was arrested. She made no comment during the police interview.
Mr Espley said: ‘Mr Turner did not die until September 3 so she would not have been asked about causing his death.
Police and paramedics arrived after Mr Turner was knocked to the ground, but he refused to go to hospital
‘The punch seems to have been impulsive and spontaneous and it was one punch.’
There was no evidence that the death of Mr Turner had ‘anything to do with’ O’Hara and this had been confirmed after investigations by a pathologist and a neuropathologist, the court heard.
Dale Brook, mitigating, said it was a single punch and O’Hara had originally been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent but she had denied this.
Mr Brook said: ‘She has expressed heartfelt and genuine remorse for what she did that night and what happened to the victim.
‘It has taken a substantial toll on her. She has understandably thought a great deal about whether she is the cause of what happened to the victim. This is a tragic case.’
He said O’Hara, who has no previous convictions, had suffered ‘stress and trauma’ but this was nothing in comparison to what happened to the victim.
She spent a night of ‘young abandon’ drinking too much, the court heard.
Judge Sophie McKone told O’Hara at Hull Crown Court (above) that she bears no responsibility for Mr Turner’s death, following investigations by a pathologist and a neuropathologist
Mr Brook said: ‘She behaved in an inexcusable way, which had serious consequences for everyone involved.
‘It was out of character and it is likely that she has learned a very painful lesson as a result of what happened that night.’
Mr Brook said that his client had ‘an awful start in life,’ and her father and former boyfriend had both been jailed for serious offences.
Judge Sophie McKone told O’Hara: ‘Mr Turner has since died but I make it absolutely clear that you bear no responsibility for that.
‘There is evidence from two experts, a pathologist and a neuropathologist, who concluded that your actions did not contribute to his death.
‘You were violent towards him. You had been drinking. You asked Mr Turner to apologise because you say that he had bumped into a friend of yours.
‘It may be that he refused to apologise but that was no reason to resort to violence and punch somebody because you were not happy about that. It is absolutely no excuse whatsoever.’
O’Hara was given a six-month suspended prison sentence, a six-month 7pm to 6am curfew, and 20 days of rehabilitation.
Since his death, Mr Turner’s family have raised more than £300 in his memory for Macmillan Cancer Support.
His niece thanked those that came to her uncle’s ‘send off’ and described the occasion as lovely.
She said in a Facebook post: ‘Cheers to you uncle Andy, you’ll be sadly missed but never forgotten.’
Source: Daily Mail