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.


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 News Stories

Yesterday, 17:33
Police believe these two men could help with investigations

Police have released images of two men they would like to speak to as part of an investigation into a sexual assault in Old Street.

Yesterday, 17:04
The group left the train at Highbury and Islington.

A “good Samaritan” was left needing hospital treatment after he was attacked while trying to stop a woman from being sexually assaulted on

Yesterday, 14:30
Sarah Dunant (L), artist and refugee Neda with her artwork, and actress Juliet Stevenson (R)

The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants is urgently appealing for more donations in the run-up to Christmas in order to stay open for an extra day each week.

Yesterday, 11:30
Ligia Stan and Petre Craciun with the Hummingbird

With rising transport costs, increasing numbers of people are choosing to cycle to work these days. But many are still put off by the risk of having their bike stolen, as well as the thought of lugging it on public transport for part of the journey.

Yesterday, 09:30
The man police want to identify for attempted arson at Finsbury Park Mosque

This is the man police want to identify after an attempted arson at Finsbury Park Mosque on Friday.

Yesterday, 07:00
Cllr Richard Watts

The leader of Islington Council wants “lively discussion” at a Question Time-style public meeting tomorrow.

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Police want to talk to this man over an attempted arson at Finsbury Park Mosque

Police are hunting a moped rider suspected of trying to set Finsbury Park Mosque on fire in what is being treated as a “hate crime”.

Saturday, November 28, 2015
Fergus conducting the English National Opera. Picture: Tom Bowles/English National Opera

Anyone can enjoy opera. Shrewsbury Town FC is proof of that.

Most read news


Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder