'Hookes fell like a tree after fatal punch'

Published: Friday, November 19, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Melbourne:Former Australian Test cricketer David Hookes "fell flat like a tree" after he was fatally punched in a fracas outside a pub, a court heard.

Nurse Leesa Rogerson told Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Friday she was waiting for a taxi near the Beaconsfield Hotel on January 18 this year when she saw a group of about 20 people shouting in the street.

Rogerson said she saw a man, since identified as Hookes, standing by himself in the middle of the street when another man jogged towards him and punched him in the head.

"As soon as he was hit this guy just fell backwards and fell flat like a tree," she said in a police statement tendered to the court. "He didn't sort of stagger or anything, just fell."

Rogerson said she did not see Hookes throw any punches.

Hookes, 48, died the next day from injuries sustained when his head hit the ground.

Bouncer Zdravko Micevic, 22, is facing committal proceedings on charges of manslaughter and assault over the incident.

Hotel patron Bryce Stuart, 41, said he did not see Hookes being hit, but saw him become "airborne" and fall backwards during an altercation outside the hotel.

"I couldn't tell you how he landed but I heard a sound like a splat as if someone had dropped a watermelon on the road," he said in a police statement.

"After he landed he didn't move."

Stuart said he saw Hookes ejected from the hotel by a bouncer who had his arms around the sportsman's neck.

He said women in the group were remonstrating with the bouncer by saying: "We're going, there's no need for that".

He said there was pushing and shoving among a group of abouteight people, including two or three bouncers, outside the hotel.

The hearing continues on Monday.

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