A father from east Hull who said he couldn’t breathe seven times as security guards pinned him face down on the ground was ‘unlawfully killed’, a court has ruled.
Jack Barnes, 29, from Longhill, died after suffering a cardiac arrest at Manchester Victoria Station where he was held down by four Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) after allegedly being caught smoking inside the station.
An inquest into his death on Friday in Manchester Coroner’s Court heard that the factory worker had pleaded for his life while the four men used ‘excessive and unreasonable force’ to keep him pinned to the ground during the incident in 2016.
Jack Barnes, 29, died after suffering a cardiac arrest at Manchester Victoria Station where he was pinned down on the ground by four Customer Service Representatives in 2016
Mr Barnes, a former bricklayer, leaves behind a daughter.
The inquest heard that the four men, who worked for an external company called Palladium Associates, were told to follow a ‘walk away policy’ in regards to non-serious incidents.
But, they chased Mr Barnes for nearly nine minutes before catching him, and then became ‘overstimulated and aroused, losing self-control as they became carried away by the bravado of the chase.’
Mr Barnes was restrained and held face down on the ground. Body camera footage from the CSR captured him pleading for his life, and telling the men that he was unable to breathe seven times.
The footage captures Mr Barnes laid on his front with his arms held behind him, at one stage with pressure being applied to his neck.
Footage also captured one of the CSRs saying ‘I’ll tell you what, I’ll just put him out.’
The inquest heard that the restraint continued for at least a couple of minutes after Mr Barnes had stopped moving before anyone checked his condition.
Body camera footage shows Mr Barnes pleading for his life, telling guards he couldn’t breathe
He was taken to hospital but never regained consciousness. He died seven weeks later.
The inquest was also told that Mr Barnes had taken an unknown amount of synthetic cannabinoids up to the altercation outside Victoria Station.
Mr Barnes died of bronchopneumonia caused by suffering a hypoxic brain injury, following a cardiac arrest which was contributed to by physical exertion, the effects of a prolonged and the unreasonable amount of force used in restraint, pressure being applied to his neck and the consumption of synthetic cannabinoids.
Medical experts also told the hearing that Mr Barnes had likely suffered a heart attack restraint and that the restraint had ‘more than minimally contributed’ to his cardiac arrest and death.
Senior Coroner Nigel Meadows said that ‘grossly excessive and unreasonable amounts of excessive force’ were used which amounted to an assault, and that this made it possible for the court to conclude ‘unlawful manslaughter by one person or as a joint enterprise.’
Mr Barnes died in hospital, seven weeks after the incident. He never regained consciousness
Solicitor Lauren Dale of Hudgell Solicitors, who represented Mr Barnes’ family at the hearing, 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.
‘To hear the phrase ‘I’ll put him out’ used is obviously very disturbing. The inquest heard Jack was placed on his front in a prone position for quite some time and a restraint expert said there was the opportunity for him to be sat up and put in the recovery position.
‘This didn’t happen.
‘The expert also expressed his concerns about a hand being on Jack’s neck, which he said was not consistent with the restraint techniques and was unnecessary, and that Jack was probably placed on his front for longer than he should have been
‘Despite Jack being unconscious and not moving at all there was no sign of appropriate care being shown.
The Inquest into Mr Barnes’ death was heard at Manchester Coroner’s Court on Friday
‘Throughout the entire episode the response was wholly inappropriate to the incident which occurred and ultimately proved life-costing.’
Ms Dale added that Mr Barnes’ family cannot watch the footage as it is too ‘heart-breaking’ and that the family were hurt by what they viewed as a ‘lack of compassion’ from the four men during the inquest. ‘
‘Jack’s family, particularly his sister Sam, have found viewing the video footage heart-breaking. His mother has still not been able to do so to this day,’ she said.
‘That is understandable given what she knows is said by her son, and the responses given by the CSRs. They show no concern for his welfare at all and were completely reckless as to Jack’s state of health.
‘The family were further hurt by what they viewed as a lack of compassion from the four men during the inquest.
‘We want to thank the coroner on behalf of Jack’s family for the extremely thorough manner in which he has conducted this inquest, and given his findings, we will now be considering our next steps to seek justice for Jack.’