Matthew Clancy Ryan’s punch did not cause Nigel Doyle’s death, a court has been told. Picture: Ross Irby
Matthew Clancy Ryan’s punch did not cause Nigel Doyle’s death, a court has been told. Picture: Ross Irby

Pub brawl death: ‘This haunts me every night’

A MAN whose friend died shortly after he punched him during a pub brawl has spoken about how his death still haunts him every night.

Matthew Clancy Ryan, 47, did not kill Nigel Doyle when he punched the 69-year-old, whose death was described as a "very unfortunate coincidence" in court on Thursday.

Ryan pleaded guilty to assault occasioning bodily harm in the Brisbane Supreme Court, but Justice David North said his blow had no "causal link" to the death of Mr Doyle at the Kerwick Hotel in Redbank on February 11, 2017.

Police at the scene of Mr Doyle’s death at the Kerwick Hotel in February 2017. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Police at the scene of Mr Doyle’s death at the Kerwick Hotel in February 2017. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

 

Ryan was originally charged with unlawful striking causing death and manslaughter, but these charges were dropped after medical evidence proved Mr Doyle had died from an aneurysm that had ruptured before the altercation with Ryan.

In an apology read to Mr Doyle's family in court, Ryan revealed his regret at his actions that day.

"I should not have hit him, I should have walked away," he said.

"This haunts me in my dreams every night ... if I could take it back, I would."

 

The men both lived upstairs in the Kerwick Hotel. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
The men both lived upstairs in the Kerwick Hotel. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

 

The two men were both long-term residents of the hotel and had been drinking that day, the court heard.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallis said Mr Doyle had drunk 10 pots of XXXX over four hours and appeared "jovial" and his "usual larrikin self" when he walked upstairs about 4pm.

Mr Wallis said the pair got into an argument upstairs after Mr Doyle called Mr Ryan a "paedophile and a druggo".

"The defendant has struck him once to the left jaw area and that felled him," Mr Wallis said.

Hearing a loud bang, bar staff ran upstairs and found Mr Doyle slumped against a wall.

They performed CPR, but he could not be saved.

 

Police initially launched a homicide investigation after Mr Doyle’s death at the Kerwick Hotel in 2017. Picture: Mark Cranitch.
Police initially launched a homicide investigation after Mr Doyle’s death at the Kerwick Hotel in 2017. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

 

Defence barrister Jakub Lodziak said his client frequently thinks about that day and recalled his tearful reaction when he first learned that Mr Doyle had died.

"When my client was first told that Mr Doyle had first passed away he began to cry and he cried more than once," Mr Lodziak said.

Justice David North said despite causing bruising to Mr Doyle's jaw, he could not be held responsible for his death.

"It is undoubted that some time after this assault he passed away, but medically and legally you were not responsible for his death," Judge North said.

"But you had the opportunity to walk away. There was no reason for you to assault that older man."

Ryan was sentenced to six months' jail for the assault occasioning bodily harm.

He was released on parole today and a conviction was recorded. - Newsregional