A man has admitted manslaughter following an unprovoked assault in Holloway

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Wayne Packer, 31 of Arlington Road, NW1 pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 50-year-old Peter O’Loughlin at Wood Green Crown Court on Tuesday, 10 December.

He will be sentenced at the same court on 23 January 2020.

The assault happened on the night of Tuesday, 4 June after Peter had travelled by bus to Holloway Road, N7.

Packer – who was heavily intoxicated – was walking in nearby Camden Road. As he staggered along the road, unbeknownst to him, he dropped his phone. He realised it was gone as he approached Peter and accused him of stealing it, launching into a verbal assault.

Peter – who had a history of ill health and was visibly frail – was then viciously assaulted by Packer, who punched him to the ground. Packer then carried out a sustained assault on his helpless victim, kicking him several times and punching him again as he tried to get to his feet.

Passers-by tried to intervene, but Packer threatened them, intimating he was in possession of a knife before leaving the scene.

Officers attended and spoke to Peter who did not appear to be visibly injured. He was advised there would be a wait for an ambulance and stated he would attend hospital himself.

Once at hospital, Peter’s condition deteriorated and scans revealed he had suffered a bleed on the brain as a result of the assault. He remained in hospital but died from his injuries on Wednesday, 26 June.

An investigation had been launched following the assault and Packer was identified as the suspect. He was arrested on Monday, 1 July but denied being involved in a fight. Despite the weight of evidence against him, including CCTV footage, he refused to answer questions about his involvement.

However, on the first day of his trial for murder, Packer intimated he would admit manslaughter – a plea that was accepted by the court.

Detective Sergeant Kerry Burgess, from Specialist Crime, said: “Wayne Packer was heavily intoxicated that night, to the point that he did not realise he had dropped his phone. In a drunken rage, he appears to have taken his anger out on the first person he saw – unfortunately this was Peter O’Loughlin, a frail man in poor health.

“Peter could not offer any resistance to Packer’s cowardly assault – he was an innocent man who died as a result of a truly senseless attack.”