A group of seven teenagers murdered a “loving and compassionate” father-of-two after joking with him that he looked like one of the TV stars Ant and Dec, a jury has heard.
Danny Humble, 35, was subjected to a “short and sustained” attack around midnight on Friday, 28 May last year after a night out with his partner in Cramlington, Northumberland, jurors were told.
The teenagers, then aged 16 to 18, surrounded him near an underpass, repeatedly kicked him on the floor and left him with a “catastrophic” head injury from which he could not recover, Newcastle Crown Court heard.
He was rushed to hospital but despite the medics' best efforts, the “devoted” dad died from his injuries the following day.
Five defendants – Alistair Dickson, Bailey Wilson, Ethan Scott and Izaak Little, all from Blyth, and Kyros Robinson, from Seaton Delaval – are now all aged 18.
Two other defendants, who are 17, cannot be named because of their ages.
They all deny murder.
Mr Humble and his partner Adele Stubbs had enjoyed a meal and drinks out after lockdown restrictions were eased and she later recalled they had drunk “a canny skinful”.
The teenagers had also been out drinking in local pubs.
Jacob Hallam QC, prosecuting, said a witness, not one of the defendants, was to tell police how he heard some of the group and Mr Humble “just having a little bit of crack on”.
The witness recalled they told Mr Humble “that he looked like one of television’s Ant and Dec” and how the 35-year-old replied with words to the effect, “Aye good one, lads”.
The witness added that one of the group said: “Can I have your autograph? You’re my inspiration.”
Another defendant said: “Yeah, you do look like him.”
Soon after, Ms Stubbs recalled her partner said something like “What did you say?” and people moved towards him before he was hit with an uppercut.
When she got to him, he was unconscious and bleeding on the ground, Mr Hallam said.
Jurors were told the fatal attack took 15 seconds.
The witness later told police: “They didn’t miss a part of his body, they were all moving around his body, kicking him in.”
Mr Hallam said Mr Humble may have hit one of the 17-year-old defendants in the head before the youths surrounded him.
Ms Stubbs tried to perform first aid and dialled 999, trying “desperately but fruitlessly” to save her partner, the court heard.
Some of the defendants stayed around in the aftermath of the attack, jurors heard.
One of the 17-year-olds appeared to have been crying, a witness was to tell police.
Mr Hallam said all of them eventually ran away.
The trial continues.