A year or so ago, petroleum trader Jeremy Aylmer punched IT executive Charles Cox outside London nightclub Floridita. Now he might go to jail because Cox was knocked unconscious, never came to, and died 20 months later. According to the Aylmer's lawyer, he never meant to kill the guy! Or even hurt him too much! But, you know, shit happens. Also, naturally, this was over a woman.
"The defendant was drunk and he was pestering a young woman outside the nightclub and Mr Cox intervened and pushed him away from the woman, and the defendant punched him," claimed the prosecutor. "The defendant claims he was acting in self-defence, protecting himself from Mr Cox. But you will hear from witnesses present at he scene and will see a CCTV recording of what happened, and we say, it was not self-defence. Mr Cox, who was carrying his briefcase and umbrella in one hand, was not offering violence to the defendant. He was telling him in robust language to go away. There was simply no need at all for the defendant to use any violence, but he chose to punch and punch hard." The barrister said there was no suggestion Aylmer intended to kill Mr Cox or even cause him such severe injuries. But the punch was "deliberate, forceful, and aimed at Mr Cox's face." He added: "Not a single witness suggests that Mr Cox offered any violence at all, and it was this defendant who, without warning, suddenly and unnecessarily used force out of all proportion to the situation he was in. That, we say, makes his punch unlawful, and an unlawful assault that causes the death of another person, even many months later, is manslaughter."
Jurors heard Mr Cox was married but separated from his wife, and was vice president of IT firm EDS, owned by Hewlett Packard. On November 22 he had been out drinking with colleagues, and they ended up in the Floridita. He and American accountant Jeffrey Starks chatted to two women, Angelica Martinez-Vargas and Jemina Luizaga, at a table near the bar. Aylmer, a keen surfer, arrived later in an overcoat and hat, and flirted with Ms Luizaga on the dancefloor, the court heard. But after he said something which offended her she rejoined the group at the table, telling them what happened. When Aylmer came over again Mr Cox told him to go away. Ms Martinez-Vargas described the IT executive as "very polite, talkative, happy, not drunk."