It is unlikely anybody will be prosecuted for the death of a father-of-one who was “unlawfully killed” following a city centre fight, an inquest has been told.

Andrew Crawford died last November, as result of a brawl after a gig by heavy metal band Motorhead.

The 44-year-old and his cousin, Neil Shevill, were punched to the ground by two men after a row developed following the concert.

Mr Crawford, of Wesley View, Pudsey, suffered severe injuries, including a broken nose, and hit the back of his head as he landed on metal railings and then the pavement.

At an inquest into his death yesterday, after hearing evidence from the other men who all admitted throwing punches in the fight, Leeds Coroner David Hinchliff recorded a verdict of unlawful killing, but conceded it is probable the man who delivered the final blow to Mr Crawford would never be known or face any legal action.

The inquest heard how Mr Crawford and Mr Shevill, who had been drinking, confronted Ronald Ferguson and Benjamin Ramsden on Dudley Way, near to the O2 Academy in Leeds, after the gig on November 25 last year.

They were upset with Mr Ramsden, who had apparently set the hair of their friend, Andrew Davis, on fire inside the arena.

The court heard a row escalated between the pair and Mr Ferguson, 30, and Mr Ramsden, 26, leading to the fight.

Witnesses said Mr Ferguson, of Batley, and Mr Ramsden, of Scarborough, were the aggressors, but they both claimed either Mr Crawford or Mr Shevill threw the first punch.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Ramsden, who gave himself in to police hours after the attack, said: “They threw the first punch so I retaliated.”

He admitted hitting one of the men to the floor, and then punching him twice more in the face as he got to his feet.

Mr Ferguson, who described Mr Ramsden as “extremely intoxicated” on the night, said he had tried to act as a peacemaker, but also admitted punching one of men as they were on the floor until “they ceased fighting”.

Mr Shevill said he could remember little about the fight and had asked his cousin not to pursue Mr Ramsden.

He said he could remember throwing a punch but could not recall if it had connected, and did not remember being hit himself.

Mr Shevill told the inquest his cousin was “like a brother” and was a “very friendly guy”.

Mr Crawford and Mr Shevill were left unconscious on the ground and were taken to Leeds General Infirmary. Mr Shevill had suffered a badly bruised jaw, but Mr Crawford never regained consciousness and died early the next day.

Pathologist Dr Andrew Falzon said Mr Crawford died as a result of a “blunt force trauma to the head he considered had been caused by an assault”.

Reading from Dr Falzon’s report, Professor Michael Green, a forensic pathologist at the University of Sheffield, said the final cause of death was as likely to have been from Mr Crawford falling to the ground as a result of the punches he received, which cause him severe bruising, including the broken nose and two black eyes.

Detective Sergeant Duncan Jackson, who was involved in the investigation, said Mr Ramsden and Mr Ferguson had handed themselves into police once they had heard about the death.

The Coroner said it was understood the Crown Prosecution Service considered the incident “significantly unclear” for charges to be pursued and thought it was unrealistic any prosecution could take place as there is the “realistic prospect” a defendant could claim self defence and it was unclear who punched who.

Mr Hinchliff said he could understand why Mr Crawford’s family, who were not at the inquest, would be upset there would be no prosecution.

“This was a terribly serious incident and someone lost their life and there is to be no legal redress at all,” he said.

Describing Mr Crawford’s injuries as “unsurvivable”, Mr Hinchliff said: “I record a verdict of unlawful killing but in the circumstances where the perpetrator cannot be disclosed from the evidence.”