Date: 28 Oct 1994
Place: The Gallery Club, Penge
Michael Walkling was beaten to death outside a nightclub in Penge.
Two men were tried twice but acquitted because they could not determine who made the fatal blow.
It was heard that Michael Walkling was attacked by the men after he intervened when they pestered his sister and her friend outside The Gallery club in Penge.
Michael Walkling had gone to the nightclub with his sister and her friend and had then later met up with his girlfriend. They then all spent the evening drinking and dancing. It was heard that earlier in the evening, the two men tried for Michael Walkling's manslaughter had made it difficult for Michael Walkling's sister and her friend to get back to their table after they had got up to dance, forcing them to push their way past them. It was also heard that when the girls were dancing, one of the men would stick his tongue out at them. However, a bouncer intervened and the rest of the evening went on peacefully.
However, when they met outside the club later on a row broke out during which it was said that one of the men had told Michael Walkling's sister's friend that he would have no qualms about hitting a woman and that when the woman challenged the man to do so, he hit her and that Michael Walkling's sister then tried to intervene, and Michael Walkling, who was a little further along the pavement at the time, then rush up to help and pushed one of the men to the ground which was said to have enraged them.
It was said that both of the men then attacked Michael Walkling, punching him multiple times. It was also noted that Michael Walkling had tried to get away, running off, and had not attempted to defend himself.
It was said that although Michael Walkling cried out for help during the assault, no one came to his aid, although the two women did try to pull the two men off of him.
Eventually the bouncers came out and stopped the assault and the two men ran off. They were caught soon after by the police who found them hiding amongst some nearby parked cars.
Michael Walkling was left on a garden wall and had a nose bleed, and because of his concussion, he was unable to clear blood that was trickling into his lungs and died.
A pathologist said that Michael Walkling died from a combination of circumstances. He said that a fatal blow or blows had caused Michael Walkling to suffer a nose bleed, and that concussion had in turn prevented him from coughing or vomiting up blood that was trickling into his throat and also added that his breathing had also been restricted by him being placed face down on the garden wall.
One of the men had been cleared at a previous trial and after hearing the medical evidence at the second trial, the judge acquitted the other man saying that Michael Walkling died owing to the desperately unlucky combination of the three circumstances and that it was not possible to say which of the men had struck the fatal blow.
One of the men said that they had been to four pubs before going to The Gallery, and said that Michael Walkling's sister's friend had been flirting with him. He also denied hitting the girl outside the club but admitted hitting Michael Walkling with all his strength when he had come at him out of nowhere. He did however admit hitting Michael Walkling's sister's friend during the struggle with Michael Walkling.
The other man also admitted hitting Michael Walkling with full force but said that he had been trying to calm the situation down. He said that there had been some back chat outside the club that might have been taken the wrong way.
One of the men was convicted of affray and given two years’ probation whilst the other man, whilst convicted of affray at the first trial, was further convicted of causing actual bodily harm to Michael Walkling's sister's friend and common assault on Michael Walkling's sister.
After the men were acquitted they were released havingalready spent some time on remand. The judge said, 'On this night, you, having taken a lot to drink, nearly went berserk. You became very angry. You lashed out with your fists and you punched a girl in the face and caused her some injury. It is a shameful way for any decent young man to go on'.
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