Fri, Nov 19, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Witness says pub bouncer was too rough in fatal brawl

AFP , MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

A pub bouncer threatened to kill former Australian Test cricketer David Hookes on the night he was fatally injured during an altercation outside a hotel, a court heard yesterday.

Hookes, 48, died on Jan. 19, a day after he hit his head on the ground during a fight after being ejected from the the Beaconsfield Hotel in the Melbourne suburb of St. Kilda.

Bouncer Zdravko Micevic, 22, is charged with manslaughter and assault over the incident and appeared in Melbourne Magistrate's Court for the fourth day of a committal hearing.

Tania Plumpton, who was part of Hookes' group on the night, told the court that she grabbed the arm of a bouncer who had put the sportsman in a headlock while ejecting him from the bar.

"It was totally unnecessary force, that's why I grabbed him the way I did," she said.

Plumpton said the bouncer had approached their group and said "tell the bitch to scull [finish] her drink."

In a statement tendered to the court, she said Hookes replied "that's no way to speak to a lady" and the bouncer put him in a headlock and started dragging him out of the bar.

She said a bouncer swore at Hookes and threatened to kill him outside the pub.

"They were shouting threats, the bouncer threatened he was going to kill David, that's when I had my hands on his [the bouncer's] chest and David was behind me, I was in the middle of it," Plumpton said.

She did not identify the bouncer in question.

Christine Padfield, another member of the group, said Hookes was "courteous and polite" when told to leave.

Under questioning from defense lawyer Terry Forrest, Padfield said she had not heard an exchange recalled by an earlier witness, who said Hookes had threatened the pub would "cop it" on his talkback radio program the next day and its staff would lose their jobs.

"We wanted to leave quietly and we were leaving quietly," she said.

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