A dad died from ‘massive’ head injuries after confronting a burglar who was trying to steal his Range Rover in the middle of the night.
Family man Dean Armitage, aged 49, ran outside in his underwear to tackle David Matthew Sindall – and suffered a ‘complex of fractures’ to his skull after hitting his head in the struggle, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Sindall kicked and punched Mr Armitage as he lay on the ground – then ran to a friend’s house where, ‘panicking and paranoid’, Sindall told him, ‘I might have killed somebody’, prosecutor Graham Reeds QC told jurors.
The 34-year-old admits manslaughter – but denies it was murder.
But the prosecution say he attacked Mr Armitage, who ran his own haulage firm, with ‘an intention to cause really serious harm’.
“The prosecution say his responsibility for what happened goes beyond manslaughter,” Mr Reeds said.
Mr Reeds said neighbour Trevor Thornton witnessed the tragedy – which was partially recorded on CCTV – outside Mr Armitage’s home on Skiers View Road, Hoyland, Barnsley.
“He saw Mr Armitage grab hold of the defendant, as if to pull him out of the vehicle,” said Mr Reeds.
“As they grappled he heard the defendant say, ‘I’ll show you’, before he hit Mr Armitage with a heavy blow, possibly with a torch he was carrying.
“That made Mr Armitage stumble, and they both started to stagger backwards and they fell together.
“Mr Armitage fell backwards and the defendant fell on top of him.
“Mr Armitage’s head hit the wall at the front of the house or the driveway.
“He suffered a massive skull fracture at the back of his head.”
He said Mr Thornton then saw Sindall kick Mr Armitage in the body, and punch or hit him as he lay on the ground.
Mr Reeds said: “The prosecution assert hitting a man over the head with a torch or small object after shouting, ‘I’ll show thee’, clearly indicates an intention to cause really serious harm.”
Mr Reeds said earlier the same night last July 20, Sindall, of Selbourne Street, Eastwood, Rotherham, had told friends, ‘I’m gonna pinch a car tonight’.
Within hours he was seen in Croft Road, Hoyland – 15 minutes away from Skiers View Road – trying door handles at around 1.30am.
Mr Reeds said: “Shortly after 3.30am the defendant burgled the house of the Armitage family, entering through an unlocked door.
“He took a handbag, shopping bags and car keys from the kitchen.
“He went to the car on the drive and got inside, intending to take it.
“As he started the engine Betsy Rapson, the girlfriend of Mr Armitage’s son Josh, alerted Dean Armitage and he ran downstairs on to the drive.”
Dean was rushed to Barnsley Hospital, and later transferred to the Royal Hallamshire in Sheffield for neurosurgery, but died after three weeks, having never regained consciousness.
The trial continues.