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May 27th 2021

Civil Liberties

Criminal review complete into death of Hull man who died after ‘grossly excessive and unreasonable force’ used to restrain him

Dr Neil Hudgell

Dr Neil Hudgell

Executive Chairman

Criminal review complete into death of Hull man who died after ‘grossly excessive and unreasonable force’ used to restrain him

A criminal review into the death of a Hull man who died after ‘grossly excessive and unreasonable force’ was used to restrain him at Manchester Victoria Station has been concluded.

A criminal review into the death of a Hull man who died after ‘grossly excessive and unreasonable force’ was used to restrain him at Manchester Victoria Station has been concluded.

However, the family of Jack Barnes are still to discover if anybody will face criminal charges in relation to his death as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has explained to Hudgell Solicitors that it is taking extra time to ‘ensure the right decision is made’.

Mr Barnes, a 29-year-old father from Hull, died after being chased and restrained by staff working at the station in October 2016.

When restrained on the ground he pleaded that he’d been struggling to breathe seven times, but the hold on him was not released.

At an inquest in Manchester earlier this year, Senior Coroner Nigel Meadows recorded a verdict of ‘unlawful killing’, saying the actions of the ‘Customer Service Representatives’ (CSRs) who restrained Mr Barnes had ‘amounted to an assault’.

The inquest was shown lengthy video footage of the incident, which the Coroner described as being ‘grossly excessive’, with the use of ‘unreasonable force’. The footage was also released to the media and led to a CPS review of the case.

That review, which was not initially set to consider a possible manslaughter charge, was extended to become to a full ‘all options’ review following representations from Neil Hudgell, Executive Chairman of Hudgell Solicitors, who represents Jack’s mother Patricia Gerrard.

Delay follows review of ‘large amounts of video evidence’ and inquest transcripts

The CPS had initially indicated a decision from its review would be announced before the end of May, but Mr Hudgell says he has now been advised that date is now unlikely to me be met.

He has been told a review by an independent, senior lawyer has been concluded and the matter is now in the hands of senior officials at the CPS.

Mr Hudgell said: “Jack’s family have lived through this for the past four-and-a-half years so for them, a few more weeks is not an issue if it guarantees that all relevant evidence is fully and appropriately considered, and that the decision which is finally reached reflects what happened to Jack in context of the law.

“Until the inquest earlier this year, Jack’s mother Patricia strongly believed her son had been let down, and this was because they had seen little or no evidence of proper investigations to that point.

“That changed at the inquest following the footage of the video evidence being shared, and of course the Coroner’s verdict and very strong findings.

“The CPS have assured us that the reason for this latest delay is because the review has included a large amount of video evidence and lengthy transcripts from the inquest earlier this year.

“We have also been told that senior managers at the CPS are also now considering the review, and the rationale behind all its findings, before the final decision is made.

“Given the importance of this review to Jack’s family, although they have been keen to hear an outcome as soon as possible, the most important thing to them is to know that this review has considered all key evidence. We feel confident that will now be the case.”

Mr Barnes was restrained at the station by CSRs working for an external company called Palladium Associates. He suffered a cardiac arrest and hypoxic brain injury after being restrained and died seven weeks later, never having awoken from a coma.

None of the men involved when restraining him faced prosecution at the time.

At one stage, a body camera worn by one of the CSRs picked up one of them saying ‘I’ll tell you what, I’ll just put him out’ and telling Mr Barnes: ‘If you struggle, I will put you to sleep. It won’t kill you but you will go to sleep for a while.’

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