Accidental death of councillor's sonBy Tim Harris
November 16, 2012
THE son of the deputy leader of Rushmoor Borough Council died as a result of an accident following an altercation outside a Farnborough pub.
An inquest heard how Raymond Dibbs, son of Councillor Roland Dibbs, died from a head injury after he was punched and fell, striking his head outside the Old Courthouse pub, in Cove Road on April 14 this year.
‘Alcohol intoxicants’ were also named as a cause of death, with the blood toxicology report showing Mr Dibbs had ethanol in his system.
Mr Dibbs, who was 36, was airlifted to St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, where he died the following day.
The jury cast a verdict of accidental death at Mr Dibbs’ inquest at Alton Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
A murder investigation had been opened and closed by Hampshire Police following Mr Dibbs’ death.
Pathologist Dr Amanda Jeffery carried out the post-mortem examination on Mr Dibbs. Her report described how there was bruising to the area around Mr Dibbs’ left eye.
The report also detailed a bruise and laceration to the scalp at the back of the head, which had caused a fracture of the skull. There was bruising to the brain, it added. The court heard from a number of witnesses about the events that took place on the day Mr Dibbs sustained his injuries.
Varying accounts were given by witnesses about an incident involving Mr Dibbs and two other men – Luke Boswell and John Hayter – inside the Old Courthouse.
Mr Hayter’s statement read out in court described how Mr Boswell had spoken harshly to him, and Mr Dibbs stepped in to defend him.
Witnesses agreed that Mr Boswell went outside the pub, before Mr Dibbs also left the pub. The jury heard conflicting witness accounts about the ‘fight’ which took place.
Frederick Lamont, who works in the Old Courthouse, said: “Ray was swinging both arms in an uncontrollable manner, he was windmilling. Luke has put out his left foot and right hand to block him.
“Ray connected with his foot as it was raised. When he was stumbling back, Luke swung at him. His punch came across his [Mr Dibbs’] shoulder.
“There must have been a couple more thrown but none of them connected. Ray dropped off the curb and while trying to correct himself he landed on his head.”
James Kirby, who watched the altercation from inside the pub, added: “I saw Ray swinging and threw about three or four punches towards Luke.
“[These were] blocked and then Luke threw a punch back at Ray, and then Ray fell to the floor.”
Mr Boswell also appeared as a witness, and told the jury he was having a cigarette outside when Ray approached him.
“Ray came around the corner swinging his arms,” he said. “I stuck my foot out to try to stop him. My foot has gone past him, he fell forward and there was just a scuffle, and Ray was on the floor. I felt punches and arms and everything. I remember catching him, I caught him with a clenched fist – one blow, and that was it. I hit Ray because he was swinging at me, I was protecting myself.”
Mr Boswell said he stood in shock after Ray had fallen.
“I knew Ray,” he added. “It should never have happened, never in a million years should it have happened.”
Coroner Andrew Bradley told the court the head injury was the fatal injury.