Trial following death of man in street fight begins in Northampton

Crown Court GV
Crown Court GV

A man from Northamptonshire died six weeks after he was knocked unconscious during a fight in the street a court heard, as the trial of one of the men charged with his death got underway.

Marc Sturgess was 41-years-old when he died in July 2013, about six weeks after the incident in Barnwell Street on the evening of June 1.

Ryan Turner, 19, from Poppy Fields in Kettering, is facing charges of manslaughter following the incident.

Two other men, Jason Loake, 44, from St Matthew’s Road, and Barry Denney, 43, from Edgar Road, are also facing charges of violent disorder relating to the same incident.

Their joint trial got under way at Northampton Crown Court yesterday.

Prosecution barrister Luke Blackburn told the court that the origin of the fight was an incident a month earlier in Mojo’s bar in Kettering, when Ryan Turner’s brother Josh and Loake had a fight that left Loake with an injured hand.

Mr Blackburn said that fight led to Loake, Denney and Mr Sturgess turning up at the home of Josh Turner a month later.

However, several of Josh Turner’s friends and his brother Ryan also arrived at the scene. Mr Sturgess was attacked by Ryan Turner and another man called Jake Freeland, who has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, which left Mr Sturgess unconscious.

Six weeks later, Mr Sturgess died.

Mr Blackburn said that when they were arrested for their parts in the incident, Denney and Loake said in interview they had been in Barnwell Street on the night in question but had only been there as they were walking to a nearby Tesco, that none of them had banged on Josh Turner’s door, and that they had been attacked by a group of men.

In court on Monday, witness Jordan Spolton said he had been smoking a cigarette outside the former Challenge Arms pub in Eskdaill Street when he saw three men, one of who he knew was Marc Sturgess, arrive at the pub. The other two men were Loake and Denney.

Spolton said he had been drunk at the time but said Mr Sturgess said they were looking for Josh Turner and it was said as if they “wanted a fight”.

Spolton phoned Josh Turner to warn him when the men left but could not contact him. He also phoned Ryan Turner and another friend but could not get through to any of them.

Another witness, Brett Davis, was with Spolton at the time but told the court he could only remember Loake and Denney arriving at the pub. He told the court that Denney, who he said appeared “irate”, said they were looking for Josh Turner.

Mr Davis was challenged about his recollection of Denney’s mood that evening by defence barrister Rebecca Herbert, but Mr Davis he had a clear memory of the brief meeting.

The trial is expected to last at least two weeks.