A MAN who tried to save the life of a Slovakian his acquaintance had allegedly punched with a knuckle-duster slapped him in the face because he thought he was just knocked out.

Liam Kennedy told a jury at Preston Crown Court that he had to be sectioned because of the distress caused by seeing victim Marek Krivak’s lifeless eyes looking back up at him.

The court heard that minutes earlier Mr Krivak had been punched to the floor by defendant Drew Wilkinson, who then also punched and kicked the victim while he was motionless.

Mr Kennedy said he had started drinking 13 hours before the fatal encounter in Hargreaves Street, Burnley, at around 7am on October 27, consuming Carling lager, Jägerbomb cocktails and cocaine.

He had also been thrown out of Panamas bar in nearby Hammerton Street after slipping in the toilets and injuring his head on a urinal.

Mr Kennedy said it was only after he was separated from the friend he was out with and was alone in Blu Bar on Cow Lane that he bumped into 18-year-old Wilkinson and his friend Jordan Weyer.

Mr Kennedy told the jury that it was after the trio were quoted £10 for a taxi to Padiham - a price Wilkinson was unwilling to pay - they ended up deciding to continue walking the streets.

And it was then that the men met Mr Krivak and his friend Robert Leck.

When asked about that encounter by prosecutor David Temkin, Mr Kennedy said: “They were drinking. They were giddy. They had their arms around each other. One of them had a bottle of vodka. He was drinking it neat.

“We approached them. Not to cause an argument. They were friendly. They were reet to us. They shared the vodka.”

Referring to the altercation that swiftly followed, Mr Kennedy said: “I ended up drinking a little too much. I had been drinking most of the night. I couldn’t taste it. I drank a little too much and the Slovakian man wasn’t too happy about that.

“He called me an English man. Like ‘give it back you English man’. I didn’t take any offence.

“I said ‘you go your way and I’ll go my way’. I turned around and I just heard a thud.

“Drew had punched the Slovakian man. It all happened so fast.”

When asked what happened next Mr Kennedy, who described himself as an alcoholic, said: “The guy wasn’t moving. I picked the back of the man’s head up and gave him a slap because I thought he was knocked out. His eyes didn’t move. They were lifeless.”

Mr Kennedy rang 999 and the operator talking him through performing CPR.

He said: “It sobered me up. I was panicking. I didn’t know how to do first aid. I just thought I had to do it.”

Defence barrister Charles James Miskin QC put it to Mr Kennedy that he was trying to minimise his own role in the incident and that he had sustained the facial injury when being ‘jumped’ in Panamas, something he had allegedly said to witness Amelia Lever.

In response he said: “No. If you got jumped they would kick you out of the club and you couldn’t get in anywhere else.”

Mr Miskin also questioned Kennedy about the inconsistencies between what he had told police when he was arrested and what he was now telling the jury.

He said: “After it happened I got sectioned. I have just got out. It’s all a bit hazy. I’m trying to recall what happened six months ago. All I can see now is Marek’s face.”

Wilkinson, of Straight Mile Court, Burnley, denies murder. (Proceeding).