THE jury in a teenager’s murder trial has been discharged after failing to reach a verdict following two days of deliberation.

The 16-year-old is accused of killing father-of-five Thomas Mallaby following a drunken confrontation on a garage forecourt.

The 40-year-old died in hospital two days after smashing his skull of concrete when the-then 15-year-old delivered a knock-out blow in September last year.

Judge Howard Crowson took the decision to discharge the jury after it was made clear that they were not going to be able to deliver a unanimous verdict or an acceptable majority verdict.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter before the trial at Teesside Crown Court got underway.

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Judge Crowson adjourned the case for two weeks to allow the prosecution time to weigh up the options of requesting a re-trial or to go ahead with sentencing for the charge of manslaughter.

He said: “In the meantime, you have kept to your bail conditions and nothing has changed. You will continue to be on bail until your next appearance.”

The Northern Echo: The Esso garage at Annfield PlainThe Esso garage at Annfield Plain

The court had heard how pair squared up on the forecourt the Esso service station in Annfield Plain last September after Mr Mallaby threatened to ‘put him in the boot’ of his car.

Jurors heard how the teenager was 'bouncing on his toes like a boxer' before knocking the man to the ground and kicking him up the backside before scrambling back to his feet.

CCTV footage of the incident showed the teenager punch Mr Mallaby to the ground again but this time he suffered a fatal blow to the head when his skull crashed against the concrete.

Mr Mallaby died in hospital two days later without ever regaining consciousness.

The defendant denied that he had ever taken boxing lessons but accepted that the trouble flared just hours after he had watched Anthony Joshua lose his world title to Oleksandr Usyk.

During his evidence, the teenager told the court that he punched Mr Mallaby after he walked towards him in an ‘agitated’ manner.

Defence barrister, John Elvidge QC, asked the teenager: “How was he behaving towards you?”

The teenager said: “He just looked really angry.”

He asked: “What did you think Thomas Mallory was going to do to you?”

The boy replied: “I thought he was going to put me in the boot.”

Mr Elvidge asked: “What did you do next?” He replied: “When he stepped towards me, I punched him. When he came towards me, I pushed him but when he stepped forward again, I punched him.”

The next hearing will take place at the same court on April 28.

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