Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009

Woman 'shocked' at lover's attack

Antonette Richardson
Antonette Richardson denies manslaughter. Photo: Central News

A shopper accused of queue-jumping said she was "shocked" when her lover fatally punched an innocent man over the incident.

Antonette Richardson, 37, said she was disgusted as Kevin Tripp, 57, was punched in the Sainsbury's store in Merton, south-west London, last June.

Mr Tripp suffered fatal brain damage when he knocked his head on the ground, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Tony Virasami, 38, admits manslaughter but Ms Richardson denies the charge.

The 37-year-old, from Sedgehill Road, Catford, south-east London, said she had no idea Virasami was going to react violently.

I couldn't believe that he had hit someone. Not only that but he had hit the wrong person
Antonette Richardson, defendant

"I was absolutely disgusted," she said. "I was absolutely mortified.

"I couldn't believe what he had done. I was totally shocked.

Ms Richardson had been accused of pushing in front of the queue by fellow shopper Adrian Prendergast as she went to buy a packet of cigarettes.

"I was quite shocked," she said. "I didn't think I was pushing in front of anyone.

"It went on for quite a while. He got very aggressive. He was threatening to knock me out if I dared say anything else to him."

Shortly afterwards she phoned Virasami, who was waiting in a car nearby and came into the store, and she pointed out Mr Prendergast.

However, Virasami attacked Mr Tripp instead, the court heard.

"I couldn't believe that he had hit someone," Ms Richardson told the court. "Not only that but he had hit the wrong person."

Mr Tripp, an ME sufferer who had a five-year-old daughter, died shortly afterwards in hospital.

The trial continues.



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