A DUBLIN man accused of a taxi driver's manslaughter told gardai he threw a punch to avoid being hit over a dispute about a fare.
A court heard how William Keegan (27) told gardai that he and four others had decided to get a cab from a Pearse Street pub into the city centre, but taxi driver Moses Ayanwole wouldn't take five passengers.
Keegan said he was left behind in the car as the others in his group jumped out and immediately got a different cab.
He said he thought Mr Ayanwole was pursuing him across the road after he got out of the car because he wanted money for a fare, even though the vehicle hadn't moved.
"If I didn't hit him, he would have hit me. He was not getting out of the taxi for nothing," Keegan told gardai.
The accused, of Pearse House, has pleaded not guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the unlawful killing of 41-year-old Mr Ayanwole on Pearse Street, Dublin on November 23, 2011.
Detective Garda Mark Looby told the court that Mr Ayanwole had still been alive when the accused was questioned.
He said Keegan told him: "I'll say a prayer. I hope he pulls through."
The accused said he had been at the Padraig Pearse pub from about 4pm on Sunday November 21, 2011 after winning some money on a football bet and had drunk seven or eight pints.
He said he and his friends later decided to take a taxi into the city centre and hailed Mr Ayanwole's taxi, but he refused to take them.
Keegan told gardai how he had got into the back of the taxi but told the driver to "f**k off" as the car hadn't moved.
"Then one bleeding box and I legged it," Keegan said.
The accused told gardai he couldn't remember the whole incident the next morning.
He said: "The reality is this is killing me. Two lives ruined over something stupid."
The court heard from another garda who said that he had arrested Keegan in the Padraig Pearse pub the following day.
He said the accused was intoxicated and got very upset and overwhelmed before getting into the patrol car.