Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 12:57 UK

New review of fancy dress killing

Gareth Davies
Gareth Davies died of head injuries in hospital three days after the fight

A financial adviser dressed as a Ghostbuster who was seen being punched during a fight outside a pub was unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

Cardiff coroner Mary Hassell referred the death of Gareth Davies, 26, back to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The CPS had earlier decided against a prosecution, and Gwent Police said a detective would now review the case.

Aaron Davies and Dariush Naseriyan, both 22 and from Cwmbran, Torfaen, were arrested by police but not charged.

Mr Davies fell backwards outside the John Fielding Wetherspoons pub in Cwmbran town centre early on 28 October last year after spending the night in costume with friends to raise money for their football team.

The hearing was told Mr Davies had been trying to break up the fight when he was punched to the face and fell to the ground unconscious.

One of his friends, Matthew Ballem, described seeing Mr Davies's head "bounce" off the tarmac ground on impact.

There is no doubt in my mind that Gareth was unlawfully killed and I intend to return a verdict on that basis
Mary Hassell, Cardiff coroner

Home office pathologist Stephen Leadbetter said Mr Davies died as a result of a blunt head injury.

Despite regaining consciousness and spending the night at a friend's house, Mr Davies could not be woken the following morning and was subsequently taken to hospital, the inquest heard.

Mr Davies died at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff three days later from his head injuries.

Janet Edwards, a taxi driver called to pick up Mr Davies and his friends that night, told the hearing she saw Aaron Davies hit Mr Davies before he fell back and cracked his head on the ground.

During proceedings on Tuesday morning, Aaron Davies would only confirm he had not seen or known Gareth Davies before the night in question.

He declined to answer any of the other questions posed to him by Ms Hassell for fear of incriminating himself in a criminal court at a later date.

'Innocent bystander'

Ms Edwards described Gareth Davies as an "innocent bystander" who was hit square in the face by Aaron Davies during the altercation.

In delivering her verdict, Ms Hassell said: "I have applied my mind to both the facts and the law and I have applied the law to the facts and there is no doubt in my mind that Gareth was unlawfully killed and I intend to return a verdict on that basis."

In a statement after the hearing Gwent Police said it had arrested two people in respect of the death, but the CPS decided there was "insufficient evidence at that time to justify criminal proceedings against any party".

"The investigation has remained open and the decision of the coroner was expected," said Det Ch Supt Ray Wise.

"I have today appointed a senior detective to fully review the investigation to date and ensure that every evidential opportunity has been and is being taken to bring the person or persons responsible for Gareth's death to justice."

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