Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2003 17:40 UK

Man cleared of nightclub death

A man has been cleared of manslaughter after another man's death at a Teesside nightclub.

Mark Thirsk died when he was punched on the dancefloor at De Niro's nightclub in Middlesbrough in December 2002.

Steelworker Robert Aspery was found not guilty of the manslaughter of 40-year-old Mark Thirsk by punching him

Mr Aspery, 55, claimed he was defending himself after Mr Thirsk swung a punch at him.

A woman member of the doorstaff ushered Mr Aspery outside as Mr Thirsk lay unconscious on the floor.

Mr Thirsk, from St Hilda's, who had two children, died in hospital from a brain haemorrhage caused by a blow to the side of the head.

At the hearing at Teesside Crown Court in Middlesbrough Mr Aspery said he felt sorry for the dead man and his family.

The "not guilty" verdict did not mean freedom for the accused, as he is serving a three year jail sentence imposed in April after he was found guilty of indecently assaulting a 15 year-old girl.


Update 15 August 2008: In November 2004 a judge at Teesside Crown Court ordered that Mr Aspery be found not guilty of the indecent assault charge.



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