A MAN has been found guilty of murder following a fight in Salisbury city centre seven years ago.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court has returned a verdict of guilty following the trial of Adam Stuart Cross, 35, of Brown Street, Salisbury for the murder of Joseph Starzacher in July 2007.

Mr Starzacher, 37, was left into a vegetative state after being punched and kicked in the head by Cross during a brawl in New Canal. He died of pneumonia in August 2010.

Cross had admitted attacking Mr Starzacher but told the court he hadn’t meant to kick him in the head or to cause him serious harm.

Sentencing is due to take place at Winchester Crown Court this afternoon. In a statement issued after the verdict, Mr Starzacher’s family said: “To see Joseph’s life taken away in such an act of unprovoked, mindless violence has had a devastating and heartbreaking affect on all those who knew him.

“Joseph was a kind, gentle and caring person who abhorred violence. We as a family have lost a lovely young man in the prime of his life.

“We have had to endure seeing Joseph locked in his body unable to communicate for three years watching his deterioration that eventually led to his death in 2010.

“This has been deeply distressing for us all but especially for his daughter Megan, who was the apple of his eye.”