Kevin McDaid had underlying heart condition, court told
Prosecutors have told a judge they cannot establish a link between the heart attack that killed a man and the violent beating he received shortly beforehand.
Eight men were originally charged with the manslaughter of 49-year-old father-of-four Kevin McDaid in May 2009.
But since the start of their non-jury trial last month, each has pleaded guilty to lesser offences, ranging from grievous bodily harm and assault to affray.
Yesterday it was revealed that Mr McDaid had a serious underlying heart condition and could have suffered a fatal heart attack at any time.
Belfast Crown Court was told that Mr McDaid died at the scene of the attack outside his Heights home in Coleraine.
But the prosecution said an expert had concluded that in light of his medical condition, it was "not possible to establish a definite causal link between the heart attack and the assault" on Mr McDaid.
The lawyer further revealed that "for the reasons associated with the clear medical issues in proving causation in respect of Mr McDaid... it was considered in the interests of justice" to accept guilty pleas to lesser charges.
Damien Fleming, a friend of Mr McDaid, also suffered a massive heart attack during the assault and was dead for two minutes, the court heard.
Fortunately, he was being treated in hospital at the time for his injuries.
The accused will be sentenced next Tuesday.