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Youth killed man in anti-gay attack

PUBLISHED: 11:05 12 February 2009 | UPDATED: 16:08 25 August 2010

A TEENAGER who killed a retired lorry driver with a single punch after hurling homophobic abuse is facing jail.  David Smith, 19, of Margaret Road, Bexley, confronted 61- year-old Ronald Dixon in the street after shouting faggot and queer from a balco

A TEENAGER who killed a retired lorry driver with a single punch after hurling homophobic abuse is facing jail.

David Smith, 19, of Margaret Road, Bexley, confronted 61- year-old Ronald Dixon in the street after shouting 'faggot' and 'queer' from a balcony.

Mr Dixon, who had been walking home with his male partner, was knocked to the ground in the middle of the road in Wellington Gardens, Charlton.

He suffered brain damage and a fractured cheekbone and died two days later in hospital.

Smith was due to face trial for murder at the Old Bailey but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

The court heard Mr Dixon was separated from his wife and had met his partner only a few weeks earlier. On May 20, 2008, they were walking along the pavement below a block of flats when a group on the second floor asked them to throw up a child's plastic ball.

When the duo refused the two men and two girls began shouting abuse including 'You are ruining our country' and 'Come up here, I'm going to f*** you up.'

Mr Dixon's partner gave him a peck on the cheek and left, fearing trouble, but the victim remained at a bus stop talking on his phone to a friend.

A taxi driver described how the group in the flats then came down and walked towards Mr Dixon.

The witness said: "I saw the attacker punch him very heard with his right fist to his face. The man with the beard fell to the ground on the road."

Mr Dixon, who lived in nearby Wellington Mansions, had a pacemaker and was on medication at the time of the attack.

Paramedics at first thought he had been knocked down by a car.

Smith was later arrested hiding in his boxer shorts under a dust sheet in a garden five doors away.

In an interview he claimed he hit the victim in self-defence.

Smith has a previous conviction for burglary on March 27, 2007. He was given a referral order for 12 months and ordered to pay £50 compensation.

He will now be sentenced on March 5 after a report is prepared by the Probation Service.

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