THE cyclist involved in the argument that led to one-punch killer Lewis Gill attacking a vulnerable man in Bournemouth says he is sorry it ever happened.
Victor Ibitoye said he was horrified when Gill reacted to the confrontation by striking Andrew Young in Charminster with the blow that killed him.
The university student said he had no idea 22-year-old Gill was capable of such sickening violence and has had nothing to do with him since the attack in November.
Gill was jailed for four years for causing the manslaughter of Mr Young, a 40-year-old Asperger’s sufferer who challenged Mr Ibitoye, 21, for cycling on the pavement.
Mr Ibitoye cycled away from Mr Young, who was said to have then made a racist remark – prompting Gill to punch him.
The victim fell backwards and struck his head on the road surface. The attack was captured on CCTV.
Warning: this CCTV footage contains graphic scenes of a violent incident
Mr Ibitoye said: “I’m sorry about what happened; I wasn’t aware that this would happen at all. My thoughts are with Andrew Young’s family.”
Mr Ibitoye is studying architecture at Arts University
Bournemouth, where Gill’s ex-girlfriend Wendy Cagua-Rodriguez, 20, is also a student.
Gill, from Sutton, south London, travelled to Bournemouth to meet up with the pair and they were heading home when they passed Mr Young.
Mr Ibitoye, who is originally from Croydon, said: “I was cycling on the pavement and he said that was dangerous.
“I told him I wasn’t hurting anybody or going fast and he said he was going to call the police.
“He didn’t do it; I just rode off because the argument wasn’t going anywhere.”
He said that Mr Young then used a racist remark. As Mr Ibitoye questioned him, Gill punched him.
He added: “Lewis walked off and I didn’t say anything. I was stunned because I didn’t expect anybody to get punched; I was shocked at his reaction.
“I spoke to a gentleman who was by Mr Young and I asked if he was OK and I briefly told him what had happened and when I looked at Mr Young he was breathing.
“He said he was going to call an ambulance and so I got on my bike and went away.
“When I found out Mr Young had passed away it was really hard to hear. Lewis called me and he apologised for putting me through the situation.
“I don’t want to be associated with someone who has taken a life.”
Mr Ibitoye said he had no opinion on the sentence handed to Gill and he trusted the courts to make the right decision.
The sentence is being reviewed by Attorney General Dominic Grieve after hundreds of people complained.