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Man died after doctors failed to diagnose fractured skull

PUBLISHED: 09:51 14 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:52 07 September 2010

By Susanna Wilkey A MAN who was punched in the face on a night out in Bayswater died after doctors twice failed to notice his skull was fractured, a court heard. Muktar Ali, who was partially-sighted, suffered a deep wound to his head when he hit the rail

By Susanna Wilkey

A MAN who was punched in the face on a night out in Bayswater died after doctors twice failed to notice his skull was fractured, a court heard.

Muktar Ali, who was partially-sighted, suffered a deep wound to his head when he hit the railings after being floored by a single blow from Mayemba Makumbu in the early hours of August 26 last year.

The 20-year-old, who suffered from a degenerative eye disease which left him short-sighted, had been accused of staring at his attacker as they passed each other on Princes Square.

Makumbu, from St John's Wood, shouted at Mr Ali: "I told you not to look at me", the Old Bailey heard.

The 22-year-old then punched Mr Ali on the jaw and calmly walked off.

Mr Ali collapsed to the ground, smacking his head on railings which knocked him unconscious.

He was rushed to St Mary's hospital in Paddington where, despite a CT scan, doctors did not notice a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain.

He was advised to stay in for observation but discharged himself and returned to his home in Elephant and Castle.

The next day he was taken by ambulance to St Thomas's Hospital suffering severe head pain but was again give the all-clear after medics had double-checked the original scan results.

A few hours later another ambulance was called and he was rushed to St Thomas's again where he had a fit and collapsed in Accident and Emergency.

A second CT scan showed up the fracture and bleeding and he was rushed to Queen Square neurological hospital in Holborn for urgent attention.

He underwent surgery but died on August 31 from pneumonia brought on by his injuries.

The court heard how Mr Ali, who had lived in Paddington most of his life, had met up with friends in Bayswater on August 25.

In February 1993 he had been registered partially sighted because of a hereditary degenerative eye disease and was especially short-sighted in the dark.

At around 1am he and his friends had met up with three Swedish students when Makumbu and another man approached them to ask for help.

After a brief stop Makumbu continued on his way, when he was heard to say to Mr Ali: "What you looking at?"

Prosecutor Christopher Tehrani told the court: "Mr Ali said nothing and turned away. But it would appear he looked at the defendant again because he said to Mr Ali 'I told you not to look at me'.

"Mr Ali mumbled something and then said 'Do what you have to do'.

"This defendant punched Mr Ali once and he fell backwards and hit his head on the me-tal railings and/or a plinth under the railings."

Makumbu, of Penfold Street, was arrested two days after the victim's death and after refusing to answer police questions he was charged. He denies manslaughter.

The trial continues.

susanna.wilkey@hamhigh.co.uk


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