A BOXING coach who put a man in a coma with a 'slap' said the victim tried to fight him and threatened to stab him first.

Jonathan Shaw appeared sombre and serious at Worcester Crown Court where he admitted grievous bodily harm (section 20) yesterday, expressing both his regret and remorse for what happened during a night out in the city.

The 30-year-old boxer entered the plea after talking matters through for more than an hour with his solicitor and family and friends, including his partner who is pregnant with his child.

David Paul Hannay suffered a bleed on the brain and was placed in an induced coma following the single blow struck outside Keystones in Worcester on November 3 last year. The blow was previously described as a 'pre-emptive strike' by Shaw's solicitor.

Shaw of Mendip Close, Malvern denies the more serious charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent (section 18). The count he has admitted is a lesser, but still serious, charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm (section 20).

The charge he admitted specifies that Shaw 'unlawfully and maliciously inflicted grievous bodily harm upon David Paul Hannay'.

We reported at the time how Mr Hannay, 37, was left in a critical condition following the blow in Copenhagen Street, near Worcester Guildhall. An ambulance was called at 12.20am and Mr Hannay was taken to hospital.

The defendant, who says on his website he has had over 60 competitive boxing fights, pleaded guilty on a basis which was read out in court by his advocate, Jason Patel.

The basis is as follows: "I Jonathan Shaw will plead guilty to section 20 GBH on the following basis: Mr Hannay approached me a number of times inside and outside - I did not want to talk to him and he was told this on a number of occasions.

"Just after midnight he approached me outside when I was with Mitchell Griffiths and Michael Slater. I again said I didn't want to talk.

"Mr Hannay talked about fighting me and stabbing me. I then misjudged his movement - this caused me to hit him with an open palm slap. I regret my actions and am remorseful."

The court heard from prosecutor Anthony Warner that the defendant had provided a 'no comment' interview to police and had, as yet, submitted no defence statement. The incident was captured on CCTV.

Mr Patel had initially requested an adjournment of seven days 'to consider the situation' and told the judge: "I know the matter has gone on for some time."

The solicitor said the position had 'changed somewhat dramatically' since the previous hearing and that his client needed to discuss the matter with his family and pregnant partner.

However, rather than adjourn, Judge Martin Jackson asked Mr Patel to have further 'meaningful' discussions with Shaw, allowing them an hour and giving Shaw bail within the precints of the court.

The judge told Mr Patel: "I would like to try and avoid the necessity of a hearing in seven days time because of the pressures on these courts."

The Worcester News understands there is a backlog of cases because of the Covid-19 pandemic which has had an impact on the volume of business the courts can manage and especially upon jury trials.

This week transparent screens have been put up in the courts to allow social distancing so juries can sit.

So far jury trials have resumed in only one of Worcester Crown Court's three criminal courts since lockdown was announced in March. The first jury trial resumed in the city in August.

Mr Patel, returning to the court after an hour and half, said the judge's actions had proved 'fruitful' and Shaw entered a guilty plea.

Shaw has previous convictions, including for people smuggling in France for which he received a six month prison sentence. He was caught transporting six Iraqi migrants, including three children, in Dunkirk, France, according to the French newspaper La Voix Du Nord.

The GBH case was adjourned until November 11 this year for sentence. A probation report was ordered in the meantime. The Crown also need time to consider the basis of plea put forward by the defence and obtain a medical update on the condition and progress of Mr Hannay and a victim impact statement.

Shaw was granted bail on condition he lives and sleeps at the address supplied to the court, obeys his curfew (10pm to 7am), does not contact directly or indirectly the victim or named witnesses and does not enter Worcester city centre except to attend Revolution gym in Tolladine Road, Worcester or DP Boxing in Sherriff Street in Worcester.

Judge Jackson said: "In adjourning I'm not making any promises about sentence. All sentencing options will be available to the judge who deals with you. It won't necessarily be me."

After the hearing Shaw said he did not wish to comment at this stage of the legal proceedings.