A FORMER nightclub bouncer wept with relief as he was cleared of killing a drinker with one punch.

Keith Stewart, 31, was alleged to have punched 50-year-old Seamus Gill so hard he fell to the ground unconscious 'like a ton of bricks' and then stamped on him as he walked away.

Mr Gill died in hospital on December 9 last year, three days after being attacked outside the Shanakee pub in Ealing Broadway.

He suffered a heart attack after blood from a facial wound blocked his airways.

Mr Stewart, of Windsor Road, Ealing, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday, after a trial at the Old Bailey. He was also acquitted of causing actual bodily harm to Mr Gill's son Fergal and assaulting his friend Simon Farzoughi.

Mr Stewart admitted punching all three men, but told the court he was acting in self-defence.

The court heard Fergal and his friend were 'clearly drunk' and 'messing around' when they arrived at the pub on December 6.

Fergal Gill had argued with Mr Stewart after bumping into him outside the pub toilets.

A disagreement then broke out a few minutes later at the pub door, but Mr Stewart was asked to come back inside by the landlord Bill Joyce.

He went back outside only a few minutes later, shortly before 11pm.

Roger Smart, prosecuting, said Mr Stewart was then seen punching all three men in the face. But Mr Stewart said he was forced to act in self-defence.

In a police interview, he said: "We had a wee confrontation that moved into the road. I knew that something was going to happen. Two boys were running at me, I knew they weren't coming over to give me a bar of chocolate. I knew they were going to attack me and I had to defend myself."

Mr Stewart said he was punched several times and suffered a chipped tooth. He admitted punching all three men and said Mr Gill was the last person he connected with.

He denied having any boxing or martial arts training but admitted he had worked as a doorman for 10 years in Ireland.

He added: "I'm good at talking people out of fighting. I am a good communicator, I can sit people down and talk people out of a fight. I have no recollection of stamping on anyone's head. I definitely didn't."

Mr Gill was taken to Charing Cross hospital, after witnesses raised the alarm, but never regained consciousness and died at 12.30pm on December 9.

A post-mortem revealed he had been hit with severe force on the side of his face.

Mr Gill, who lived with his wife Anne in Hanwell, was born in Desertegney, Inishowen, County Donegal, in the Republic of Ireland.