Trial begins: Joe Kent died protecting his wife, court told

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An exchange of words in a queue outside an Xscape takeaway led to a young husband being killed after he was punched just feet away from his wife.

Today (Wednesday) jurors saw the moment Joseph Kent was struck and then collapsed to the ground with a fatal injury.

Joseph, 24, and his wife Emma were out celebrating her 22nd birthday with family and friends when he died last January.

At the end of a night out they found themselves in a queue outside the KFC takeaway in the city centre when members of their party had words with three young men as they came out.

Luton Crown Court heard Mr Kent received two punches to the head, but it was the second blow that caused the fatal injury from which he died.

Pleading not guilty to his manslaughter is Samir Bostan, 25, of Wolston Meadow, Middleton.

With him in the dock is Hamza Noor, 22, from Wembley.

He and Mr Bostan both plead not guilty to assaulting a friend of the deceased, Andrew Curzon-Berners, causing him actual bodily harm during the same incident.

Mr Bostan alone pleads not guilty to assaulting Matthew Kent, the brother of Joseph, causing him actual bodily harm.

Outlining the prosecution’s case to the jury, Iain Wicks for the crown, told the court how on Saturday, January 12 last year, Joseph Kent and his wife Emma had gone out with a party of family and friends to celebrate her birthday.

They had started off with a meal at The Flying Fox pub in Woburn Sands, but went on to visit bars in central Milton Keynes.

It was around 3.30am on the morning of Sunday, January 13 when the husband and wife, together with his brother Matthew and their friend Mr Curzon-Berners, found themselves outside the Xscape Building.

Dozens of people were in the area and Emma, Joseph her husband and Mr Curzon- Berners joined the queue for the KFC takeaway.

Mr Wicks said Joseph’s brother Matthew waited nearby in a queue for Subway.

The court heard the two defendants, along with a third man, Tariq Bostan were already in the KFC takeaway.

Mr Wicks went on: “It was as they came out of the KFC that their comings and goings attracted the attention of Emma Kent’s group.”

He said there was a “verbal exchange” but he went on: “There was no serious cause for concern.”

Mr Wicks then told the court: “There was nothing to suggest this situation was about to deteriorate into violence, least of all that it would lead to the death of Joseph Kent at the hands of Samir Bostan.”

The jury heard the sudden fight that broke out was instigated by the man, Tariq Bostan, who has subsequently pleaded guilty to his part in the events and will play no part in the trial.

But the prosecutor said Samir Bostan and Hamza Noor had joined in an attack that was “principally” on Mr Curzon-Berners.

He said Samir Bostan had thrown numerous punches.

He added: “And in doing so, he punched Joseph Kent a single blow, which killed him.”

CCTV footage that captured the incident was played in court.

Mr Wicks told the jury that when the violence broke out, Joseph was struck by Samir Bostan and fell backwards landing on his bottom on the ground.

The jury were told Joseph’s brother Matthew, who had been in the queue for Subway, saw what had happened and came running over.

Mr Wicks said: “As he does so, he is intercepted by Samir and Tariq Bostan and, within moments, he was lying unconscious on the pavement.”

The prosecutor said Mr Curzon-Berners became involved in the fight once more.

“And it’s within seconds of that, that the second blow is delivered by Samir Bostan to Joseph Kent. It’s that blow that sees Joseph Kent collapse to the ground.”

The court was told that the medical opinion was that: “Joseph Kent was killed by this second blow.”

CCTV footage showed Mr Kent taking no further part in what was happening. Having been struck for a second time, he moved away from the group and then collapsed to the ground.

Mr Wicks said he had suffered a “traumatic sub-arachnoid haemorrhage”.

He went on: “It’s the prosecution’s case that Samir Bostan was not acting in lawful self defence.

The jury were told it was the crown’s case that Tariq Bostan had been the most “animated and annoyed” of the three, but he said the two defendants in the dock had entered into an unlawful attack as his “supporters.”

Mr Wicks said following the first blow to Mr Kent, Samir had once again turned to face him.

He said the deceased had been facing him and moving backwards with his hands down when he was struck the fatal second blow.

In the witness box Joseph Kent’s widow, Emma, told the court the final bar she and her husband and their friends ended up in that night was Revolution at Xscape.

She said they decided to leave and made their way to the fast food outlets outside.

“Most of us chose KFC and some chose Subway,” she said.

Emma told the court she was in the queue with her husband and Mr Curzon-Berners and about to be let in when two men came out from KFC.

“They were laughing and joking and said to the bouncers ‘don’t let these guys in’, jokingly.

“I said in a joking way ‘what’s it got to do with you?’’” she said.

Emma Kent told the court that, with that, the man who had made the remark became “quite aggressive.”

She went on “His face twisted into a scowl and he got slightly closer and said ‘He’s my uncle and if I say you don’t come in, you don’t come in.”

She said the second man was laughing and the first man then said to her “Who the f... do you think you are standing there in your little dress with your little t...”

“I think I said ‘Excuse me?” she told the court.

The wife said Mr Curzon-Berners and her husband said to the men “You can’t say that.”

She said she heard her husband say: “That’s my wife, you can’t say that.”

An argument broke out and she said she heard her husband and his friend saying: “We don’t want to fight, you don’t want to fight, let’s just leave it.”

Emma said she saw her husband smile at her and thought the trouble had passed and at that point she went into the shop.

She said she had only been inside for a minute when her friend came in and said: “Come quick Joe’s been hit.”

The wife said she went outside and was led to where her husband was. “He was stumbling...he was looking at me.”