Man admits manslaughter of South Shields dad - but prosecution press on with murder trial

Ronnie Howard died after a disturbance at a South Shields pub.

Ronnie Howard died after a disturbance at a South Shields pub.

A man accused of murdering a dad-of-two during a violent disturbance at a South Shields pub has admitted manslaughter.

Michael Wilson, 35, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via video link to HMP Durham, where he pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ronnie Howard, who died following an attack.

Police outside The Prince Edward pub after the disturbance in which Ronnie Howard died.

Police outside The Prince Edward pub after the disturbance in which Ronnie Howard died.

Wilson, of Hylton Avenue, South Shields, pleaded not guilty to murder at a previous hearing last month.

Mark Guiliani, prosecuting, told the court how the plea was not acceptable to the prosecution and he will now go on trial for murder in October.

Mr Howard, 31, was found unconscious by police who were called to a disturbance at The Prince Edward pub, in Prince Edward Road, South Shields, on May 4.

He was pronounced dead after being taken to hospital.

Four other men arrested at the time of the incident appeared in the dock at the hearing.

David Wood, 28, of Sunderland Road, Anthony Kenrick, 33, of Centenary Avenue, and Paul Haley, 26, of Ascot Gardens, all South Shields, have all admitted a charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Anthony Jefferson.

They have all been given bail until after Wilson's trial.

A charge of affray has now been dropped against John Hayes, 58, of Moor Lane, South Shields.

Wilson will go on trial at Newcastle Crown Court on October 5 and has been remanded in custody.

The Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan QC, told him: "I'm going to adjourn your case to trial.

"The trial will be on 5th October this year, that is when you will next be brought to court.

"You must attend, you must travel to court. If you refuse to do so the trial will take place in your absence.

"In the meantime you will be remanded in custody."