Court told soldier was kicked and punched in Portsmouth attack

TRAGIC Private Matt Brooks
TRAGIC Private Matt Brooks
Canoe Lake

Picture: Shaun Roster

Robbers target man on a bike at Canoe Lake

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WITNESSES have described how a soldier was viciously beaten up in an attack which led to his death.

An inquest into the death of Private Matt Brooks heard police statements made by people who saw the fight in a car park near Guildhall Walk in Portsmouth on May 13 last year.

Southampton Coroner’s Court had already heard how Pte Brooks had been in Yates’s bar when a fight broke out between him and Dean Aldcroft.

They were both thrown out along with friends and met up in the car park.

The inquest heard that Mr Aldcroft, 22, of Warwick Crescent, Southsea, told police he punched Pte Brooks once.

But witness Paolo Bolognini said he saw a man punch and kick Pte Brooks a number of times.

In police interviews read out in court, Mr Bolognini, referring to Mr Aldcroft as ‘offender one’ said: ‘Suddenly offender one swung a punch towards the victim. He swung another punch and the victim instantly fell backwards.

‘His arms went out to the side and his head hit the floor and bounced and hit the floor again. Offender one kicked the victim a couple of times. He punched him a couple of times.’

Witness Stephen Swain saw the pair in Yates’s and then witnessed the fight which took place outside.

In his police statement he said: ‘I saw one of the males punch the squaddie in the face. Then I saw him kicking and punching him.’

Some of Pte Brooks’ family broke down in tears as they heard the evidence.

Pte Brooks, 18, from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, was on a training course at HMS Sultan in Gosport.

Daniel Davies, who was out with Mr Aldcroft on the night of the attack told the court he had punched Pte Brooks inside Yates’s in a bid to protect his friend.

But he said that, once out in the car park, he had no involvement in the fight.

He added that he didn’t directly see Mr Aldcroft hit Pte Brooks.

He also issued an apology to the family in court, saying: ‘I’m very sorry. I’m completely apologetic about what happened. My thoughts go out to his parents and family.’

Mr Aldcroft was charged with manslaughter and common assault but charges were dropped after the CPS said they had insufficient evidence.

The inquest was expected to finish today.