A MAN told how his friend was put in a coma following an unprovoked attack outside a lapdancing club.

Kieren Clitherow, 30, said he had spent the evening drinking with Russell Berry.

They had visited bars and clubs in Billericay, and the Festival Leisure Park, in Basildon, before they decided to go to Katz, in Times Square, Basildon.

Mr Clitherow said they were refused entry, but as they waited outside a row broke out with three men who had left the club, and moments later violence erupted.

Yesterday, at Basildon Crown Court, he said: "Something was said to induce an argument. Me and Russell were saying there is no need for an argument.

"We were on our way home and we were trying to diffuse any situation that might arise.

"I was then punched in the face by one of the three men. I had my hands by my sides. I was not ready to be hit. It was really out of the blue. I was not able to put my hands up."

Mr Clitherow said he went back to the club to raise the alarm and when he turned back he saw Mr Berry being struck.

He said: "Russell crumpled to the ground.

"I saw him being hit around the back of the head. Russell was clearly not getting up. His eyes were closed. Russell did not get up again. He did not get up again for four months."

Mr Clitherow said another friend, Richard Manning, who had joined them later that evening, was also chased by the group and assaulted.

Billy Sinclair, 20, of Ilchester Road, Dagenham, denies causing Mr Berry grievous bodily harm on June 22 last year.

The trial continues.