Search

Crouch End man cleared of murdering acclaimed deaf actor in Islington

17:26 02 June 2014

Vitalis Katakina died a week after he was punched in Islington.

Vitalis Katakina died a week after he was punched in Islington.

Archant

A Crouch End man accused of killing a deaf Shakespeare actor with a single punch broke down in tears as he walked free from court.

Matthew Powe was acquitted of murder and the lesser alternative of manslaughter at the Old Bailey jury on Monday.

The 30-year-old had told the court he was acting in self defence when hit Vitalis Katakinas - acclaimed for his performance in a deaf production of Shakespeare’s Love Labour’s Lost - at the White Swan Pub, in Highbury, on June 29 last year.

Mr Katakinas suffered severe head injuries and died a week later.

Medical experts claimed the punch was delivered with enough force to twist the victim’s head and tear the vertebral artery.

Jurors heard how Powe got in the middle of an argument between the Mr Katakinas, who he did not know, and another deaf man, who was one of Powe’s teammates in Barnet Deaf FC.

Team captain Powe told them to “lay off” and branded them both “thick”. Mr Katakinas responded by knocking his glasses off.

Powe, of Inderwick Road, then put his glasses back on before lashing out.

Witnesses described Powe tackling Mr Katakinas and dumping him to the ground, causing his head to hit a step. The prosecution claimed Powe had acted out of revenge after consuming a cocktail of cocaine, alcohol and cannabis.

But Powe told the jury he was trying to act as a peacemaker because there were children around.

“I could see they were signing in an intimidating way and the signing was offensive and violent.

“I wanted to get Thomas away. I was captain of the Barnet football club so I felt it was my duty to get him away.

“My only intention was to calm things down.”

Powe added: “I didn’t mean this to happen.”

Latest Islington News Stories

59 minutes ago
Blackfriars Crown Court. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

A Finsbury Park man raped a woman in her sleep before his co-accused kicked her in the back, a court heard.

12:21
The London Charterhouse will be open to the public in November 2016 for the first time in its 660-year history

The London Charterhouse is set to open its doors to the public this autumn for the first time in its 660-year history.

09:02
islington town hall

A lettings agent and four landlords have been slapped with court bills totalling £20,000 for abusing houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) license practices.

Yesterday, 17:10
Grafton Primary School went on strike at Freightliners Farm, Holloway, as part of the national campaign against SATs in Key Stage 1. Picture: Ellie Hoskins

It’s 10am and the placards are out. The faces are youthful, but determined. They are on strike against government policy. But these are no junior doctors.

Yesterday, 12:00
Monty looking sorry for himself at Harmsworth Animal Hospital, Holloway

A severely injured kitten found callously dumped in an Archway bin store late last year has this week become the first pet to be rehomed overseas by the RSPCA.

Yesterday, 09:35
Holloway Prison

Two hundred inmates at Holloway Prison are today preparing to move 20 miles away to Downview prison in Surrey.

Sunday, May 1, 2016
Jeremy Corbyn addresses the crowd in Clerkenwell Green to mark the May Day rally. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn today became the first Labour leader in 50 years to address the May Day rally in Clerkenwell Green.

Friday, April 29, 2016
Sam Parrington of the Pilion Trust at the exhibition in Caledonian Road on Wednesday. Picture: Andy Commons (andycommonsimages.com)

It isn’t just older people who fall on hard times. James Morris finds out about the sad reality of homeless young people in the capital – and how charities like The Pilion Trust and Project One Zero are working in Islington to give them a creative outlet.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe