A FORMER sailor’s ‘intense hostility’ towards a gay retired teacher, who he claimed had made a pass at him some years earlier, exploded into violence in a Coventry snooker club.
After ‘wickedly and arrogantly’ demanding that ‘gentle and unassuming’ Patrick Redmond should be told to leave, Carl Pinder felled him with a single punch.
The blow, which fractured his cheekbone and eye socket, caused Mr Redmond to fall straight back and hit his head from which he died the following day.
After initially being accused of the murder of 68-year-old Mr Redmond at Riley’s Snooker Hall in Hertford Place, the indictment was amended to manslaughter.
Pleading guilty to that charge at Warwick Crown Court, Pinder (37) of Foster Road, Radford, Coventry, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said when Mr Redmond arrived at the club on the fatal February night after 10.40pm, the defendant chose to abuse him, falsely calling him a paedophile and telling him to leave.
Pinder, who had served in the Royal Navy until 2009, was ‘younger and larger and more physically fit’ than Mr Redmond.
Mr Redmond and a friend had been drinking before arriving. Pinder had been there for hours and had drunk seven pints.
After threatening “he’s going to get what’s coming to him,” Pinder was persuaded to go out for a cigarette to calm him down. While outside he accused Mr Redmond of touching his nephew – which it was stressed was ‘a claim without any support.’
But he went back in and landed what witnesses described as a deliberate hard punch.
“As he lay on the ground motionless, the defendant walked away, showing no concern or remorse,” added Mr Grieves-Smith. He apologised to other customers, saying: “Sorry about that everyone, but that’s what you get when you’re a paedo.”
But by the time the emergency services arrived he had begun claiming he had not even hit Mr Redmond, ‘showing he had decided to lie almost immediately,’ said Mr Grieves-Smith.
After leaving Riley’s showing no regret, Pinder went to a nearby pub before leaving at 2.30am and going to the police station to hand himself in.
When he was questioned he claimed Mr Redmond had previously made unwanted sexual advances, but said he had had no intention of hitting him.
He claimed he had tried to grab Mr Redmond to get him out of the snooker hall, and had then stepped back and saw him lying on the floor, later suggesting he may have caught him by accident.
Mr Grieves-Smith said Mr Redmond’s sisters describe him as having been a ‘very gentle and highly intelligent’ man who was involved in amateur dramatics and highly supportive of anyone he could help, adding that the thought of Pinder’s ‘vile and untrue comments’ being the last words he heard was heart-breaking.
Howard Godfrey QC, defending, said: “The police report starts with the words ‘this tragic incident’, and that’s precisely what it is, both for the deceased and his family and, in a different way, for Mr Pinder and his loved ones.
“It is something Mr Pinder deeply, deeply regrets.
“Mr Pinder is not homophobic. He disliked Mr Redmond because of an incident which took place in 2009, as a result of which he was extraordinarily embarrassed.”
Mr Godfrey said Pinder says that after drinking together in a pub, Mr Redmond had invited him back to his home to carry on drinking, and that as they got there Mr Redmond ‘went to kiss him and to grab him inappropriately,’ and Pinder ran off.
Since then, said Mr Godfrey, Pinder, who accepts his use of the term ‘paedo’ was wrong, had made it a rule to leave if he saw Mr Redmond in the same bar. But that night, perhaps because of how much he had drunk, he decided he would not be the one to go.
But, of the suggestion that Mr Redmond had tried to kiss Pinder, Judge Richard Griffith-Jones commented: “That, it hardly needs saying, is no more or less embarrassing than where it may have been a heterosexual couple going back to a house.
“He is quite entitled to make an approach to someone he likes. Yes, it may be embarrassing, but I am struggling to find the link to the intense hostility it gave rise to.”
The judge said that in sentencing Pinder, he would accept that a misunderstanding may have happened in 2009.
He added: “It is an offensive and insulting idea to consider for a moment that Mr Redmond should have had to leave that snooker hall simply because you had this intense hostility towards him.
“He had done nothing, not a thing, to provoke that which happened to him.. you wickedly and arrogantly believed he should leave.”