September 2 2014 Latest news:
by Court Reporter
Monday, May 12, 2014
A deaf man killed an inspirational actor with one punch after signing “watch me” to a friend, a court heard.
Matthew Powe, 30, attacked Vitalis Katakinas after the deaf thespian knocked his glasses off, the Old Bailey was told.
Both men had been to the British Sign Language Pride event in Highbury Fields before making their way to the White Swan pub, near Highbury and Islington station, on Saturday, June 29, last year.
Powe, of Inderwick Road, Crouch End, got in the middle of a quarrel between the 34-year-old actor and Thomas Giddens at around 11.30pm.
Mr Katakinas, who won accolades for his performance in Deafinitely Theatre’s production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, was arguing with Mr Giddens outside because he was jealous of his friendship with fiancée Lina Kankevicinti.
Prosecutor Alan Kent QC told the jury the “argument descended into violence” after Powe got involved.
“There is some evidence that Mr Katalinas struck the first blow, he punched the defendant in the face or pushed him, that caused the defendant’s glasses to fall off,” he continued.
“He bent down, picked them up and put them back on.
“Having done so he signed to a friend ‘watch me’ and punched Mr Katalinas in the face.
“That punch knocked Mr Katalinas to the ground and indeed it seems that the defendant also ended up on the ground.”
Mr Kent said the father-of-one “was probably unconscious” from the first punch, having suffered a serious head injury.
He died in hospital a week later without ever regaining consciousness.
Powe - who has a team of sign language interpreters translating the trial to him - claims he was acting in self defence but Mr Kent said he attacked his victim in retaliation.
He denies murder and an alternate charge of manslaughter.
The trial continues.