October 21 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 5°C

Five-day forecast

Crouch End man cleared of murdering acclaimed deaf actor in Islington

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

Monday, June 2, 2014
5:26 PM

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.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

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.”

Share this article

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Islington Gazette on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Islington businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Islington Gazette, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE

Celebrity / Showbiz See all

Drake has cancelled his Wireless London performance (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for ESPN)

Fans devastated after Drake cancels Wireless London festival

Rapper Drake has pulled out of his headline appearances at this weekend’s Wireless Festival in London, leaving fans devastated.

Read full story »