A painter and decorator walked free from the Old Bailey today after being cleared of beating to death another man with a bike lock.
Raymond Sculley, 29, was accused of murdering hospitality manager Zdenek Makar by striking him on the head with the heavy metal chain, then hitting him again as he lay on the ground.
The two men had got into a row at a branch of Perfect Fried Chicken in Poplar when Mr Makar joked that Sculley and his friends were in a “bike gang”, the court heard.
However, Sculley told the court he only hit Mr Makar, 31, twice and struck him with the bike lock only in self-defence when he “charged” him in an alleyway.
A jury today found Sculley not guilty of murdering Mr Makar in the incident on September 21 last year.
Prosecutor Lisa Wilding QC had suggested that Sculley was “in a rage” during the late night confrontation, but Sculley said he only got involved when he saw Mr Makar throw a punch at his friend.
“At that point I hit him with the chain. I thought I hit him on the shoulder”, he said.
“I started to back up which is when we started moving down the alleyway.
“He was coming towards me and I was moving backwards. He was trying to hit and grab me.”
Mr Makar, who worked as a hospitality manager at the Royal Institute of British Architects, suffered a brain haemorrhage in the incident and died at the scene, just after midnight.
Sculley, of Aberfeldy Street, Poplar, east London, denied murder.
He was found not guilty at the end of an eight day trial.