A ‘lovable rogue’ died after being punched by a Latvian man on a South Yorkshire street and hitting his head, an inquest heard.
Nigel Evans, aged 24, of Commercial Street, Measborough Dike, Barnsley, died on July 20, last year, two days after an altercation with Magomeds Hizrijevs.
Sheffield Coroner’s Court heard factory worker Mr Evans suffered an ‘unsurvivable’ head injury after being punched by the former international kickboxer in an alleyway on Sunderland Terrace, Measborough Dike.
Mr Evans was knocked unconscious after falling backwards and hitting his head on the concrete ground.
Latvian-born Mr Hizrijevs, formerly of Doncaster Road, Barnsley, was charged with manslaughter but they were dropped after the Crown Prosecution Service said there was no realistic chance of securing a conviction.
The inquest heard Mr Evans was being aggressive towards Mr Hizrijevs, known locally as ‘Russian Alex,’ and was ‘egging him on’ to have a fight.
Craig Bywater, of Jubilee Street, followed the men into the alleyway after hearing a ‘commotion’.
He said Mr Evans was shouting at Mr Hizrijevs, who was not replying and had his hands by his side.
Mr Bywater said: “Nigel’s brother was there shouting ‘hit him’ to Nigel.
“After the shouting Nigel threw a punch, I don’t think it connected’ and the kid hit him twice.”
Witnesses administered CPR until paramedics arrived.
Mr Hizrijevs fled the scene and was later arrested by police.
He told officers: “He must have been drunk. I have never seen him before and he wanted to fight.”
Pathologist Dr Philip Lumb conducted a post-mortem examination and concluded Mr Evans died from a head injury caused by striking a hard surface.
When asked if the blow or the fall caused the head injury, Dr Lumb said: “The pattern of injury is very typical of a strike to the ground with the back of the head.
“Although the fall was precipitated by a punch, it was secondary and the fall was fatal.
Adrian Arnott, who had been drinking with Mr Evans, his nephew, before the incident, said: “Nigel was one of the most kind-hearted kids I have ever met.
“He was more a friend than he was a nephew and he would do anything for you.
“He was a lovable rogue – a cheeky chappy.”
The inquest continues.