Page last updated at 11:45 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 12:45 UK

Brothers admit banker's killing

Frank McGarahan
Frank McGarahan was chief operating officer of Barclays Wealth

Two men have admitted the manslaughter of a banker who died in an attack as he "bravely" tried to help a homeless man.

Frank McGarahan, 45, of Hertfordshire, was an executive at Barclays Wealth and died in hospital the day after the attack in Norwich on 28 September 2008.

Brothers Tom and Ben Cowles, aged 22 and 21, of Beaumont Road, Costessey, near Norwich, appeared at the city's crown court.

Both also admitted affray, and Ben Cowles admitted a charge of assault.

They had pleaded not guilty to murder at a previous hearing.


Prosecutor Mark Dennis QC said Mr McGarahan, his brother Kevin and cousin Sean Ryan had witnessed an assault on another man in central Norwich at about 0300 BST.

Mr Dennis said they had intervened after witnessing a group of youths attacking a man of "down-and-out appearance".

"In the circumstances we submit (they) bravely intervened when many others would have stepped back," he said.

The court saw CCTV footage of the incident captured by a number of city centre cameras.

The footage showed the three men approach with "non-aggressive intent".

Mr Dennis said they were then met with abuse, with one of the group of youths trying to justify the attack on the "down-and-out" by saying: "You don't know what he has done. He has got what he deserved."

Mr Dennis said Kevin McGarahan had then called the group of youths "cowards".

Tom and Ben Cowles
Tom and Ben Cowles admit the manslaughter of Frank McGarahan

Lying motionless

He said shortly afterwards Ben Cowles ran at Mr McGarahan and punched him in the head before attacking his brother.

Tom Cowles also attacked both Frank and Kevin McGarahan.

Another man, Daniel Moy, was seen to emerge from the group of youths and punch Sean Ryan.

The CCTV footage showed Mr McGarahan being punched to the floor, held in a headlock and punched, rising to his feet and staggering before collapsing and lying motionless on his back.

It also showed Kevin McGarahan being punched to the floor.

Mr McGarahan's cousin, Sean Ryan, is also seen being punched.

Mr Dennis said the CCTV footage showed members of the group containing the brothers running away after the incident.

Sentencing will be on 26 June.

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