Man who died after restraint by Metrolink contracted security staff is ruled to have been unlawfully killed.

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ANDREW_D_WEBB

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Makes sobering reading https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-56203332

A man who died after being restrained in the street by public transport workers was unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.
Manchester Coroner's Court was told Jack Barnes shouted "I can't breathe" repeatedly as he was held by Metrolink staff in Manchester in October 2016.
The 29-year-old from Hull had a cardiac arrest and died seven weeks later.
Concluding his death was unlawful, Coroner Nigel Meadows said the workers' actions amounted to manslaughter.
Transport for Greater Manchester's Chief Executive Eamonn Boylan said: "First and foremost I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Jack Barnes.
"This was a tragic and deeply upsetting incident. There were clear policies and training in place at the time of the incident, which those involved that evening completely disregarded.
The court heard that the father-of-one's life effectively ended while being held face down on a pavement outside the Australasia restaurant in central Manchester.
He had recently moved from Hull and had been out with some friends on 11 October, 2016, travelling around Manchester on the city's trams.
The group were spotted at St Peter's Square at about 20:15 GMT and challenged by a Metrolink customer service representative (CSR).
The worker suspected the group was smoking illegal drugs, a claim they denied, and it is thought Mr Barnes responded with abusive language.
Evidence in court indicated that he had taken the cannabinoid Spice at some point that day.
The inquest was told later that evening, shortly before 23:30, the group were spotted at Manchester Victoria station, and recognised by the CSR who had earlier challenged them.
A group of CSRs approached them after being told about the earlier abuse.
A row broke out and Mr Barnes became aggressive to being confronted.
He swung a drawstring bag he was carrying at the men, which hit two of the staff, before he and a friend ran off.
Metrolink's policy was that their representatives should walk away from such encounters, alerting the police if necessary, and the inquest was told that all staff had been reminded of this at the start of their shift that night.
The policy states that CSRs cannot "grab hold of a person" or "pursue a passenger either off the platform or trackside", but the four workers - Paul Fogarty, Brian Gartside, Matthews Sellers and Stephen Rowlands - decided to chase the fleeing pair, two on foot, two in a taxi.
After a nine-minute chase across almost a mile of the city centre, Mr Barnes was caught by Mr Gartside and bundled to the ground outside the Deansgate restaurant.
Bodycam footage from a camera worn by Mr Sellers, and played in court, showed that within moments of being caught, while being held down with his left cheek on the pavement, Mr Barnes asked for help, shouting out: "I can't breathe."
After being ignored, he repeated: "I can't breathe."
Over the course of about 90 seconds, Mr Barnes said he was struggling to breathe on eight separate occasions.
Just before the camera moved away to focus on Mr Barnes' friend, Mr Rowlands was recorded telling him: "If you struggle, I will put you to sleep.
"It won't kill you but you will go to sleep for a while."
The inquest heard Mr Barnes had a cardiac arrest and, despite a police officer and a passing ambulance crew providing assistance, he never recovered and died on 2 December, having been transferred from Manchester Royal Infirmary to a hospital in Hull.

'Hunted like an animal'​

Giving evidence to the inquest, the men refused to answer many questions about the incident, having been given legal advice that to do so could incriminate them.
However, Mr Rowlands told the coroner that he had been trained in restraint while serving as a GMP officer for 13 years and that he had left the force due to an injury in 1989.
He estimated that he had restrained "well over 1,000 people" during his police career.
He also told the inquest that "it didn't enter my head" to follow Metrolink's "walk away" policy.
Mr Rowlands declined to speak to the BBC when approached for comment.
Recording a conclusion of unlawful killing, Mr Meadows said that the exertion of the chase and the pressure on Mr Barnes's neck more than minimally contributed to the heart attack.
He found the restraint amounted to assault as it was unnecessarily prolonged and the CSRs had had an opportunity to both call the police and to sit Mr Barnes up into a more comfortable position.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Barnes's mother Tricia Gerrard told the BBC the men had "hunted him down like an animal".
She said the family refused to believe he had attacked the CSRs, as at "any sign of trouble, any sign of violence, he'd run".
The inquest was told the bag that hit the men contained clothes and a phone charger.
Mrs Gerrard said she wants the four CSRs, who had "never apologised [and] never showed any remorse", to be prosecuted.
Greater Manchester Police, whose officers investigated the case, told the BBC in a statement that "following a review by the Crown Prosecution Service, four men… who were arrested on suspicion of assault were released without charge".
Lauren Dale of Hudgell Solicitors, who represented the family, said: "This case is a reminder of the tragic consequences of security and other personnel seeking confrontation and using excessive force.
"In this case, the policy of the employer was to walk away, yet they chased Jack for more than half a mile before pinning him to the ground and bluntly refused to listen to his requests to allow him to breathe more easily."
 
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BluePenguin

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Outrageous! I have no words. This must never ever happen again. RIP to their family
 

ANDREW_D_WEBB

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Notable that TfGM have categorically stated that the staff were not following procedure “Transport for Greater Manchester's Chief Executive Eamonn Boylan said: "First and foremost I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Jack Barnes.
"This was a tragic and deeply upsetting incident. There were clear policies and training in place at the time of the incident, which those involved that evening completely disregarded."
 

Bob figgis

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Just watched the body cam footage of this on the BBC 10 o’clock news. One of them is heard to tell the guy we are going put you asleep but we won’t kill you. The guy said 8 times in 90 seconds that he could not breath.
 

PupCuff

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It's unlikely to be a popular opinion, but having been in similar positions in the past where I was the person assaulted by druggies, tried doing the right thing and not retaliate, instead calling the police, and the police had no interest in taking a statement let alone finding, prosecuting and jailing the assailants, you do tend to lose some sympathy for the druggies who go out, get off their face and then assault people before realise they've bitten off more than they can chew when one of those people retaliates. I don't advocate retaliation, but I can understand the reasons that lead people to do it.
 

Wolfie

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It's unlikely to be a popular opinion, but having been in similar positions in the past where I was the person assaulted by druggies, tried doing the right thing and not retaliate, instead calling the police, and the police had no interest in taking a statement let alone finding, prosecuting and jailing the assailants, you do tend to lose some sympathy for the druggies who go out, get off their face and then assault people before realise they've bitten off more than they can chew when one of those people retaliates. I don't advocate retaliation, but I can understand the reasons that lead people to do it.
Those four 'heroes' should be banged up. They had no right whatsoever to do what they did.
 

AlterEgo

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A pack of thugs.

It's unlikely to be a popular opinion, but having been in similar positions in the past where I was the person assaulted by druggies, tried doing the right thing and not retaliate, instead calling the police, and the police had no interest in taking a statement let alone finding, prosecuting and jailing the assailants, you do tend to lose some sympathy for the druggies who go out, get off their face and then assault people before realise they've bitten off more than they can chew when one of those people retaliates. I don't advocate retaliation, but I can understand the reasons that lead people to do it.
It's not going to be a popular opinion because it's a bad one. You did the right thing. The men who killed the junkie did not, and it is as simple as that.
 

Wolfie

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A pack of thugs.


It's not going to be a popular opinion because it's a bad one. You did the right thing. The men who killed the junkie did not, and it is as simple as that.
I am not, and never have been, a drug user. Not all of those who do so are junkies.
 

yorkie

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I don't advocate retaliation, but I can understand the reasons that lead people to do it.
I can't understand it because these people behaved this way while representing their employer, in a public-facing role for which they had training and experience; people really need to behave accordingly in such circumstances.

I've broken up fights and restrained people, and they've never held anything against me for doing so.

I can understand a random member of the public retaliating against someone to some extent (but not this extent obviously) but someone who is doing a job of this nature, with the appropriate experience and training, to just randomly do this really is on a completely different level.
 

Wolfie

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I can't understnad it because these people were at work in a public-facing role for which they had training; you really need to behave accordingly in such circumstances.

I've broken up fights and restrained people, and they've never held anything against me for doing so.

I can understand a random member of the public retaliating against someone to some extent (but not this extent obviously) but someone who is doing a job of this nature, with the appropriate experience and training, to just randomly do this really is on a completely different level.
I fail to see how a guard in Liverpool was sent down and yet these characters are not even facing charges.... Hopefully the inquest verdict will spark a rethink. I assume that Metrolink has dispensed with their services and any security industry accreditation has been removed.
 

PupCuff

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I can understand a random member of the public retaliating against someone to some extent (but not this extent obviously) but someone who is doing a job of this nature, with the appropriate experience and training, to just randomly do this really is on a completely different level.
I agree, it wasn't the right thing for the staff to do. But I'd have more sympathy if the bloke they did it to wasn't a druggie who'd just assaulted them.
 

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I fail to see how a guard in Liverpool was sent down and yet these characters are not even facing charges.... Hopefully the inquest verdict will spark a rethink. I assume that Metrolink has dispensed with their services and any security industry accreditation has been removed.

There needs, as a minimum, to be a manslaughter charge. Fundamentally some no doubt strong, powerful thugs lost their temper and killed someone. That cannot go unpunished.

Once they left Metrolink property these guards' role had ended. They should have chased them off Metrolink property, called 999 and got on with their job.

In most other contexts, losing your temper such that someone dies is known as "murder".
 

matt_world2004

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Its not like the gave chase to him in the heat of the moment or anger either, two got into a taxi to give chase which showed intent not to follow the company policy.
 

whoosh

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I fail to see how a guard in Liverpool was sent down and yet these characters are not even facing charges.... Hopefully the inquest verdict will spark a rethink. I assume that Metrolink has dispensed with their services and any security industry accreditation has been removed.

Funnily enough, I thought exactly the same comparison when I read about this.
 

The_Train

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How can the CPS not pursue a prosecution for assault and yet a coroner says that what the thugs did amounted to manslaughter?

They should face justice for their actions. Plain and simple
 

43066

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How can the CPS not pursue a prosecution for assault and yet a coroner says that what the thugs did amounted to manslaughter?

The CPS is concerned with whether there is a “realistic prospect of conviction”, in deciding whether to bring charges, and apparently concluded there wasn’t in this case.

The whole thing seems rather odd.
 

Wolfie

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How can the CPS not pursue a prosecution for assault and yet a coroner says that what the thugs did amounted to manslaughter?

They should face justice for their actions. Plain and simple
I'm not sure about the financial situation the victim's family are in but l suspect the CPS would not one little bit like a judicial review of their decision-making in this case....
 

Bletchleyite

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I'm not sure about the financial situation the victim's family are in but l suspect the CPS would not one little bit like a judicial review of their decision-making in this case....

The CPS is by no means perfect and often makes mistakes, so that would seem a good thing, at least in this context. It wouldn't be acceptable if this was a bar fight, it's even less acceptable given that these guys were security professionals, one requirement for which being an ability to control one's temper when faced with sometimes quite severe provocation, and thus to moderate any force to what is strictly necessary to ensure safety and security of the thing you're guarding.

This case does seem to give a prime example of the reason security staff in the UK so often get referred to as "rent-a-thugs". For some reason this doesn't seem to be the case in other European countries, there does seem to be a much higher level of professionalism.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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Just because an employer tells you not to do something, does not mean that it is unlawful. You have statutory and common law rights which can take precedence. An employer cannot bind you contractually into giving up some of these rights, like the right to self defence or to make an arrest under 24A of PACE. Most employers have clauses banning this purely because they won't train in restraint or self defence etc and therefore do not want to be held liable when things like this happen.

After being a victim of an assault by a user of a psychoactive substance, which I can well imagine this being the case from the story, you are under absolutely no obligation to 'walk away' or retreat. You can stand your ground, possibly attack back with as much or little force as necessary and can certainly chase and detain until relevant law enforcement assistance becomes available. Just because you may not choose that course of action, does not mean others should not.

The fact the CPS has elected not to prosecute even at the much lower level of manslaughter tells you everything you need to know about this case in my view. To prosecute, it must:

1) Be in the interest of the public and
2) Have a realistic prospect of conviction.

I can assure you that for Murder/Manslaughter cases, this will have been assessed and reviewed by senior lawyers in the CPS, as well as taking advice from the police. This offers a very strong hint that the deceased has played some significant part in his own death, either through his actions, or an issue like an underlying health problem that made (for example) the level of force used to detain dangerous, but that no reasonable person could ever have anticipated in the circumstances. I.e. 99% of the time, someone else in that restraint would have been battered and bruised, but not dead. This is obviously a simplified opinion, and some conjecture.

A coroner has a wholly different remit in law, and works to a very different standard of proof, and anecdotally could be said to try to give the deceased perhaps more credibility or respect than you may otherwise have considered reasonable in the circumstances, especially when there is a grieving and deeply emotional family at the hearing who want their version of justice.

Taking a life, or more accurately, contributing towards taking a life, also has a strong burden on the person taking it, far beyond anything a prison sentence could provide.
 

bramling

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Just because an employer tells you not to do something, does not mean that it is lawful. Most employers have clauses purely because they won't train in restraint or self defence etc and therefore do not want to be held liable when things like this happen.

After being a victim of an assault by a user of a psychoactive substance, which I can well imagine this being the case from the story, you are under absolutely no obligation to 'walk away' or retreat. You can stand your ground, possibly attack back with as much or little force as necessary and can certainly chase and detain until relevant law enforcement assistance becomes available. Just because you may not choose that course of action, does not mean others should not.

The fact the CPS has elected not to prosecute even at the much lower level of manslaughter tells you everything you need to know about this case in my view. To prosecute, it must:

1) Be in the interest of the public and
2) Have a realistic prospect of conviction.

I can assure you that for Murder/Manslaughter cases, this will have been assessed and reviewed by senior lawyers in the CPS, as well as taking advice from the police. This offers a very strong hint that the deceased has played some significant part in his own death, either through his actions, or an issue like an underlying health problem that made (for example) the level of force used to detain dangerous, but that no reasonable person could ever have anticipated in the circumstances. I.e. 99% of the time, someone else in that restraint would have been battered and bruised, but not dead. This is obviously a simplified opinion, and some conjecture.

A coroner has a wholly different remit in law, and works to a very different standard of proof, and anecdotally could be said to try to give the deceased perhaps more credibility or respect than you may otherwise have considered reasonable in the circumstances, especially when there is a grieving and deeply emotional family at the hearing who want their version of justice.

Taking a life, or more accurately, contributing towards taking a life, also has a strong burden on the person taking it, far beyond anything a prison sentence could provide.

Whilst there’s some very good points here, I do find it very hard to justify how four staff could ever chase someone from one side of Manchester city centre to the other, which the initial article seems to imply happened here.
 

Wolfie

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Just because an employer tells you not to do something, does not mean that it is unlawful. You have statutory and common law rights which can take precedence. An employer cannot bind you contractually into giving up some of these rights, like the right to self defence or to make an arrest under 24A of PACE. Most employers have clauses banning this purely because they won't train in restraint or self defence etc and therefore do not want to be held liable when things like this happen.

After being a victim of an assault by a user of a psychoactive substance, which I can well imagine this being the case from the story, you are under absolutely no obligation to 'walk away' or retreat. You can stand your ground, possibly attack back with as much or little force as necessary and can certainly chase and detain until relevant law enforcement assistance becomes available. Just because you may not choose that course of action, does not mean others should not.

The fact the CPS has elected not to prosecute even at the much lower level of manslaughter tells you everything you need to know about this case in my view. To prosecute, it must:

1) Be in the interest of the public and
2) Have a realistic prospect of conviction.

I can assure you that for Murder/Manslaughter cases, this will have been assessed and reviewed by senior lawyers in the CPS, as well as taking advice from the police. This offers a very strong hint that the deceased has played some significant part in his own death, either through his actions, or an issue like an underlying health problem that made (for example) the level of force used to detain dangerous, but that no reasonable person could ever have anticipated in the circumstances. I.e. 99% of the time, someone else in that restraint would have been battered and bruised, but not dead. This is obviously a simplified opinion, and some conjecture.

A coroner has a wholly different remit in law, and works to a very different standard of proof, and anecdotally could be said to try to give the deceased perhaps more credibility or respect than you may otherwise have considered reasonable in the circumstances, especially when there is a grieving and deeply emotional family at the hearing who want their version of justice.

Taking a life, or more accurately, contributing towards taking a life, also has a strong burden on the person taking it, far beyond anything a prison sentence could provide.
You really are a sycophant when it comes to anyone in authority, aren't you. The authority body automatically gets it right and you will defend them whatever. These four thugs have zero excuse and deserve the book thrown at them.
 

NorthernSpirit

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I fail to see how a guard in Liverpool was sent down and yet these characters are not even facing charges.... Hopefully the inquest verdict will spark a rethink. I assume that Metrolink has dispensed with their services and any security industry accreditation has been removed.
What's the chance that one of the four may have 'connections in certain places' so they'd get away with this sheer unprofesional behaviour. Makes you think.
 

Tazi Hupefi

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You really are a sycophant when it comes to anyone in authority, aren't you. The authority body automatically gets it right and you will defend them whatever. These four thugs have zero excuse and deserve the book thrown at them.
You clearly haven't read my posts on dealing with the police.

I think you could well do with being referred to "The Secret Barrister" on social media (and a bloody good set of audio books, books etc), so you can actually see past the media and poor legal education our country is infested with.

It may also reduce your sensational / outraged Daily Mail headline mindset. The law is actually fairly black and white, and generally pretty logical, especially for very serious offences like manslaughter, with rafts of case law. The issue is that people's understanding and expectations of the law is usually quite far departed from what the law actually is. That is partially because of shocking legal education, but also years of attacks from the media and government on "activist judges", "lefty lawyers" etc. The public generally starts to actually believe things which are so far departed from reality, but become extremely well ingrained thoughts into society. This is why you end up with people supporting the abolition of Human Rights etc.
 
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43066

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story, you are under absolutely no obligation to 'walk away' or retreat. You can stand your ground, possibly attack back with as much or little force as necessary and can certainly chase and detain until relevant law enforcement assistance becomes available.

Standing your ground and defending yourself, yes. Not so sure about “attacking back”. As for organising into a group, two of whom got into a taxi in order to chase the bloke (at least as reported)... That isn’t cricket.

That said, the whole scenario sounds so implausible that I wonder if the CPS were privy to information that isn’t publicly available.
 

whoosh

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On the bodycam footage a "weapon" is referred to. This isn't mentioned anywhere else. I woudn't say a bag being swung is a weapon.

Perhaps there is more to this story.

Although, would you have chased someone who had a weapon?
 

Tazi Hupefi

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Standing your ground and defending yourself, yes. Not so sure about “attacking back”. As for organising into a group, two of whom got into a taxi in order to chase the bloke (at least as reported)... That isn’t cricket.

That said, the whole scenario sounds so implausible that I wonder if the CPS were privy to information that isn’t publicly available.
It is perfectly acceptable. You can use as much force as you genuinely believe (crucially, even if it is later proven to be an incorrect, but truly held belief), to be necessary, including intentionally killing that person if you believe that was what it took to defend yourself or prevent other harms. However, I cannot see that anybody would have intentionally tried to even cause minor harm, never mind death. I suspect that the real aim was to detain the suspect.

The real issue is what they did when they detained him, not the fact they chased him in the first place.

Again, don't judge other people by what you would do in unique and stressful circumstances.
 

Wolfie

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You clearly haven't read my posts on dealing with the police.

I think you could well do with being referred to "The Secret Barrister" on social media (and a bloody good set of audio books, books etc), so you can actually see past the media and poor legal education our country is infested with.

It may also reduce your sensational / outraged Daily Mail headline mindset. The law is actually fairly black and white, and generally pretty logical, especially for very serious offences like manslaughter, with rafts of case law. The issue is that people's understanding and expectations of the law is usually quite far departed from what the law actually is. That is partially because of shocking legal education, but also years of attacks from the media and government on "activist judges", "lefty lawyers" etc. The public generally starts to actually believe things which are so far departed from reality, but become extremely well ingrained thoughts into society. This is why you end up with people supporting the abolition of Human Rights etc.
It's a little ironic that you offer me that lecture when, until the start of this year l spent the previous 10 years handling litigation against two Govt Depts, four public and one Parliamentary inquiries and policy/disclosure aspects of several criminal cases. I took my legal advise from Departmental legal advisors, Govt Legal Dept and barristers, up to and including First Treasury Counsel, not some random on the net..... I know all about ECHR thank you very much.
 
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