Hookes was heading home before fatal fight!

Published: Tuesday, November 16, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:Former Australian Test cricketer David Hookes was heading home when a group of bouncers who kicked him out of a hotel pursued him before an altercation that led to his death, a court heard.

Victoria state cricketer Michael Lewis told a committal hearing on Tuesday that he was outside the hotel when he saw Hookes being pursued by four bouncers, two of whom appeared intent on "getting in his face".

Lewis said he heard Hookes say "what are you doing?" and "I'm going home" as he made his way along the footpath.

He said Hookes was then grabbed by the throat, punched in the stomach and pushed.

"There were four bouncers there but mainly two pushing Hooksey," Lewis said. "The two bouncers kept following him and getting in his face."

Hookes, 48, died on January 19 after he hit his head on the ground during a fight outside the Beaconsfield Hotel in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda.

Bouncer Zdavko Micevic, 22, is charged with manslaughter and assault over the incident.

Lewis said he saw no cricketers being physically or verbally aggressive towards the bouncers.

Earlier, Melbourne Magistrates Court heard that Hookes threatened to criticise the hotel on air in his talkback radio program for throwing him out minutes before the fight.

South Australian cricket coach Wayne Phillips told a committal hearing for a bouncer charged with manslaughter that Hookes used "forceful" language when told by a bouncer that his group was being too loud.

Defence lawyer Terry Forrest asked Phillips whether Hookes told a bouncer that he was a radio personality and threatened the business would "cop it" the next day.

"I assume that was the tack he was taking," Phillips replied.

Hookes was then grabbed forcefully by two or three bouncers and ejected from the bar, Phillips said.

"I thought he was held rather forcefully," Phillips said.

Phillips denied that he or other cricketers were involved in a struggle between the bouncers and Hookes.

"I didn't see that and I certainly didn't get involved in any grapple with security staff," Phillips said.

The cricketers had gone to the hotel after an inter-state match.

On the opening day of the hearing Monday, the court was told that Hookes threw two punches before Micevic hit him and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.14 at the time of his death, three times over the drink-driving limit.

Forrest said his client had received numerous death threats, his family home had been burned down and his car vandalised. The hotel has been vandalised and has closed down.

Hookes played 23 tests for Australia between 1977 and 1985 and went on to coach the Victoria state team. The hearing is expected to take more than a week.

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