A PENSIONER died after being attacked in a Bolton pub toilet, a court heard.

William Melling, who was known as Roy, suffered a major head injury.

He never recovered and died six months later.

At Manchester Crown Court 24-year-old Daniel Riley denied the manslaughter of 73-year-old Mr Melling.

The jury was told how animosity between Mr Melling and Riley began following a row between the younger man and Angela Green, another regular drinker at the Lion of Vienna pub, on January 8 last year.

As a result Riley was barred from the pub in Chorley New Road, Heaton, for a week by the landlord.

Rob Hall, prosecuting, told the court how Ms Green later told her friends about the incident, including Mr Melling, whom she regarded as a second father.

Two weeks later, on January 22, Riley was in the pub again with his brother Ben Riley, friend Stephen Holland and acquaintance Patrick McGrath at around 7pm.

But the atmosphere was still tense and Daniel Riley criticised Mr Holland for speaking to Ms Green, who was also at the pub that evening.

After hearing about the altercation an angry Mr Melling, who was 5ft 7in tall and had heart and breathing problems, approached Riley’s table.

“He was becoming somewhat aggressive with Danny over the previous incident,” said Mr McGrath, who gave evidence to the court via a video link.

He added that Mr Melling invited Riley outside for a fight, eventually stepping away after bar staff and Riley’s friends intervened to calm the situation.

But Mr McGrath told the jury that Riley continued being angry.

“He was getting himself worked up about the situation that had just happened,” said Mr McGrath.

“He was getting quite red in the face and saying ‘If he wants a fight, I’ll fight him’ or words to that effect.”

Mr McGrath added that he warned 6ft 2in tall Riley: “If you hit him, he’ll die.”

Riley appeared to calm down and the court heard how he later told his friends that he wanted to go to the toilet but would not go while Mr Melling was there.

But a short time later Riley and his brother headed for the toilets.

The court was told that Riley later claimed he had been standing at a urinal when he was hit in the face and swung his arm out to protect himself, knocking Mr Melling backwards, causing him to fall and hit his head.

But no injury was seen on Riley’s face and the prosecution claim he made up the story to try to make out the pensioner was the aggressor.

Pub-goers found Mr Melling lying unconscious on the toilet floor and struggling to breathe with blood on his mouth and injuries to his nose, cheekbone and the back of his head.

Mr McGrath freed Mr Melling’s tongue, allowing him to breathe better and turned him into the recovery position.

The court heard that Mr McGrath had no first aid training.

“But he had seen first aid given in computer games he played and drew on those experiences,” said Mr Hall.

Bar staff phoned for an ambulance and police, as did Riley, but Mr Hall said Riley appeared more concerned about reporting an alleged assault on himself by Mr Melling.

Lack of available ambulances meant paramedics did not arrive at the pub until 9.30pm and when Mr Melling arrived in the accident and emergency department at the Royal Bolton Hospital he was found to have a fractured skull and a pressure build up due to bleeding on the brain.

He was transferred to the critical care unit at the Salford Royal Hospital, but his age and medical history meant surgery could not be undertaken.

At the end of July Mr Melling, who needed 24 hour care and was bed-bound, was transferred to St Catherine’s Care Home in Horwich, where he died on August 6 from pneumonia linked to his brain injury.

The trial continues.