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Man cleared of killing teen following fight over broken wing mirror

PUBLISHED: 14:57 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:29 11 March 2020

Liam Russell appearing at Norwich Crown Court. Photo: East Anglia News Service

Liam Russell appearing at Norwich Crown Court. Photo: East Anglia News Service

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A man accused of killing a teenager following an argument over a broken wing mirror has been cleared of manslaughter.

Reece Hornibrook (pictured). Photo: Norfolk ConstabularyReece Hornibrook (pictured). Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Reece Hornibrook, 17, died two days after he suffered serious head injuries in an assault in Saddlebow Road, King's Lynn, in the early hours of July 7 last year.

Norwich Crown Court had heard the wing mirror of Liam Russell's BMW was damaged by one of Mr Hornibrook's friends and Mr Russell became involved in a scuffle with the teen, who was walking back from a party.

During the melee Mr Russell, 32, threw a single punch at the victim, who fell, hit the ground and suffered a fatal injury.

The prosecution insisted the blow was delivered in anger but Mr Russell claimed he was acting in self-defence and denied manslaughter.

A jury of eight men and four women took less than three hours to find Mr Russell not guilty of manslaughter.

One of Mr Russell's friends and family shouted 'yes' as the verdict was announced from the packed public gallery.

Some members of Mr Hornibrook's family broke down in tears as the verdict was announced on Tuesday (March 10) afternoon.

Mr Russell hugged his wife Dominique and other family and friends as he left the courtroom.

But Mr Russell declined to comment about his acquittal as he left court.

The prosecution had argued that Mr Russell, formerly of Metcalf Avenue, Lynn, had acted in 'anger' but the jury found that Mr Russell was, as he had claimed, acting in self-defence at the time.

Giving evidence, Mr Russell said he kept telling Mr Hornibrook he did not want a fight.

He said he returned from a night out to find his wife in her dressing gown arguing with the youths over the damage to his car.

Mr Russell said he tried to get them away from his home and pushed Mr Hornibrook away, but said Mr Hornibrook had come up to his face and the two became involved in a scuffle in the road.

He told the court: 'I wanted to know who had done the damage and had not wanted a fight.'

He said he inflicted a single punch which sent Mr Hornibrook to the ground, but immediately called for help when they could see he was injured.

He said his wife, who is a hospital worker, had gone to Mr Hornibrook's aid in the aftermath of the incident.

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