Witness 'punched murder accused'


Lavern Paul Ritch was stabbed to death in New Jersey (AP)

A Mexican national has admitted that he punched a New Jersey man, setting off a chase which resulted in the stabbing death of one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors.

Mario Chavez told a court in Mays Landing, New Jersey, that he punched Robert Davies after he claimed Davies hurled an anti-Mexican insult at him in the toilet of a bar in August 2007.

When Davies gave chase, British tourist Lavern Paul Ritch, of Penarth, South Wales, ran up to Davies, seeking to help him, but was stabbed in the chest.

Davies is on trial on murder and weapons charges. He acknowledges stabbing Mr Ritch but says he acted in self-defence. He says he thought Mr Ritch was part of a group of Mexicans intent on hurting or killing him.

Mr Chavez denies that a group was chasing Davies.

Mr Ritch appeared as a contestant in the British adaptation of American Gladiators in 1998, making it to a quarter-final round.

He was a swimming and fitness instructor in Cardiff, was listed in a 2002 poll of Britain’s 50 most eligible bachelors by Company magazine, and was named the 12th most eligible man in Wales that same year in a local newspaper.

He has been described as a well-known clubber on the London and Cardiff scenes.

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