A MAN who died outside a County Durham pub “nose dived” to the ground like a plane, according to the man accused of his murder.

Nathan Robbie Buckland denies the murder of 31-year-old Iain Lee, from Newton Aycliffe.

Mr Lee died on September 19 last year, 11 days after being assaulted outside The Roundhouse pub in Newton Aycliffe.

It is claimed that Mr Buckland, of Lumley Close, Newton Aycliffe, punched Mr Lee, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the road.

Mr Buckland, 25, is standing trial at Newcastle Crown Court, which today heard the account he gave of the night to police.

He was arrested at 5.30am on the day of the incident, which happened in the early hours of Saturday, September 8, on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, as at that point Mr Lee was still alive.

The Northern Echo:

The Roundhouse pub, in Newton Aycliffe

In a statement handed to police after he was re-arrested on suspicion of murder, Mr Buckland, who described Mr Lee as a friend, gave his version of the night.

He told police Mr Lee had seemed aggressive earlier in the evening and has asked him if he could get him some cocaine, and later followed him to the toilets asking him to “get him some gear”.

Just before the incident, Mr Buckland says he was “dragged” out of the pub by another man to try and calm Mr Lee down.

Mr Buckland told police: “I said to stop picking fights with people and go home.

“Iain was shouting ‘I’m going to burn your f***ing house down’.”

He added: “Iain walked past and said ‘I’ll be coming back and you’re all f***ed.’”

Mr Buckland claims he then tried to “grab” Mr Lee but lost his footing and stumbled, grabbing his collar as the pair fell.

He said: “He was like a plane, nose diving to the ground.”

The court heard Mr Buckland was interviewed on a number of occasions by the police, during which he responded to all questions with “no comment”.

On the second day of evidence, jurors were taken through CCTV footage from inside and outside the pub, which shows some of what happened, including the moment Mr Lee fell to the ground.

Just prior, Mr Lee is seen walking away from the pub, when he turns and faces back towards the direction he has come from.

Mr Buckland is then seeing moving towards Mr Lee, who continues to back away and then turns and starts running.

Mr Buckland is seen running after him and the footage then shows the pair coming together, and Mr Lee goes down and remains motionless.

Mr Buckland can then been seen walking back towards the pub, at one point shaking his right hand, as though injured.

The court heard Mr Buckland had been seen buying three bottles and eight pints during the course of his evening.

CCTV footage also showed a number of interactions between the pair, including Mr Lee going into the toilets while Mr Buckland was in them.

On Thursday, the court heard Mr Buckland was a boxer and was interested in mixed martial arts and was described as someone who knew “the power of a punch.”

The trial continues.