An accused killer cried out “he made me do it” as a Melbourne surgeon fell to the ground unconscious after an alleged one-punch attack at the hospital where he worked, a jury has heard.
Patrick Pritzwald-Stegmann, 41, suffered head injuries last May when he fell at Box Hill Hospital after allegedly being struck to the head by 24-year-old Joseph Esmaili.
The surgeon’s life support was turned off weeks later.
Esmaili is on trial in the Supreme Court, having pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.
Despite recanting his early claim he saw the doctor get punched and fall, Esmaili’s friend Corey Rogers told the court he witnessed Esmaili’s response.
“Oh f***. He made me do it,” he said Esmaili had yelled out, before jogging outside the hospital and running with his group toward Box Hill.
Esmaili and Mr Rogers were smoking with a group of people in a non-smoking area outside the hospital when it’s alleged Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann told them they couldn’t smoke there.
Mr Rogers said one of the group told the doctor to “f*** off” and Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann went inside to get security, following Esmaili.
Receptionist Megan Brodersen said the pair were arguing while she called security for help.
She said she heard Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann tell Esmaili “you can’t talk to me like that” and repeatedly asking, “did you just spit on me?”.
Mr Rogers said at one point the doctor put down his bag and there was a physical interaction.
“There was a push. The doctor pushed Joe. He reacted by punching (Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann),” he said.
Administration worker Lucy Jackson said she saw the punch reflected through a window, but under cross-examination by Esmaili’s barrister John Desmond, admitted she didn’t see Esmaili’s fist connect.
Ms Brodersen said she didn’t see the punch but heard a bang and raced over to find Mr Pritzwald-Stegmann unconscious and choking.
Also a trained nurse, she put him in the recovery position.
“He was very stiff, kind of convulsing. I put him in the recovery position and that’s when the blood came out of his nose and mouth” she said.
“It felt like forever but (help) came very quickly.”
The trial continues.