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Captain died after a riverboat row

PUBLISHED: 16:53 15 December 2008 | UPDATED: 09:19 11 August 2010

A DRUNK banker accused of causing the death of an elderly pleasure boat captain also threatened to kill the skipper and his family, a court heard. Andrew Liddard, 28, is said to have punched Michael Reed in the face moments before the 67-year-old suffere

A DRUNK banker accused of causing the death of an elderly pleasure boat captain also threatened to kill the skipper and his family, a court heard.

Andrew Liddard, 28, is said to have punched Michael Reed in the face moments before the 67-year-old suffered a fatal heart attack.

The fight started after Liddard and his brother, Christopher, 23, were thrown off the City Cruises boat 'The Millennium of Peace' at Tower Bridge Pier at 8pm on June 2, 2007.

Captain Martin Welsh, 28, told the Old Bailey how he and Mr Reed, his second-in-command, escorted the pair off because of their abusive behaviour.

He said: "The idea was to get them off the boat for everyone's safety.

"I walked to the front of the boat so we could leave the Pier. I wasn't looking for any trouble.

!I was getting abuse from the taller one [Andrew Liddard]. He was saying 'You are a f***ing poof, I will f***ing slash you.'

"I said I had a wife and family and he said 'I will kill your family'."

Mr Welsh said that the shorter brother Christopher then ran up unexpectedly and swung a punch at Captain Welsh's head without provocation.

"He was getting really agitated and he swung a punch at me with his right hand. I moved back out the way.

"He threw several punches at me. I was scared for my safety so I threw a punch back.

"The other one said 'That's my f***ing brother, I'm going to kill you.'

"Michael [Reed] was in between me and the taller male. Michael had his hands up in front of him on an open hand gesture to calm the males down."

Mr Welsh denied suggestions that he shouted back to Andrew Liddard: 'F*** it, I'm going to have you.'

He said: "No, it's not the truth. I was getting abuse and what I replied was 'Why don't you just go and get your money back from the ticket office.'

"I have taken a lot of abuse. I have got a big responsibility for my vessel and my passengers, so I'm not going to get wound up by drunks on the boat."

Mr Welsh also denied that Mr Reed had attacked Andrew Liddard during the scuffle, before receiving a blow to his face.

He added: "He came out to stop the situation."

Two passengers filmed the struggle with their camcorders as Andrew Liddard could be heard 'growling' threats while being restrained.

One video captured Mr Reed holding a cloth to a cut on his cheek before collapsing on the floor from a heart attack.

CCTV of the pier also captured the fight and the victim's collapse.

Mr Reed, a father-of-three from Keel Close, Barking, was the longest serving member of the pleasure boat community.

He had been married for 44 years, and had first suffered heart problems in 2001.

Andrew Liddard, of Plomer Avenue, Hoddesdon, Herts, and Christopher, of Challinor, Church Langley, Harlow, both deny manslaughter.

Jurors have heard that Andrew Liddard admits affray, and Christopher Liddard admits common assault of Martin Welsh.

The trial continues.


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