A G4S guard accused of killing an Angolan deportee by restraining him on a flight from the UK has told a court he was shocked and upset by his death, insisting he never heard him complain about breathing problems.
Stuart Tribelnig, 39, was one of three guards who were escorting Jimmy Mubenga from the country on October 12 2010 when he collapsed in his seat before take-off at Heathrow airport.
Former navy serviceman Terrence Hughes, 53, from Portsmouth, is also on trial.
The trio allegedly ignored the man’s cries of ‘I can’t breathe’ and kept him handcuffed with his head forced down for 36 minutes until a member of cabin crew raised the alarm on the British Airways flight.
The 46-year-old married father had suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead in hospital. Tribelnig, who denies manslaughter, told an Old Bailey jury today he did not hear Mr Mubenga ‘say anything about air’ and insisted he did not force the deportee’s head down.
Prosecutor Mark Dennis QC asked him: ‘Would you agree that if someone was deliberately in that pushed down position...that would be a dangerous situation?’
He replied: ‘If someone was pushed forward, sure, yes, I would agree.’
Mr Dennis asked: ‘Highly dangerous?’
Tribelnig replied: ‘I believe so, yes sir.’
Mr Dennis asked Tribelnig whether he and his co-defendants refused to accept they pushed down Mr Mubenga’s head because they knew it was a misuse or abuse of force.
He replied: ‘Sir, I never heard him say anything about air.
‘We never held him down. I wanted his head up so I could speak to him.’
Tribelnig, who was the guards’s team leader and had trained with the territorial army, said he only told his wife about Mr Mubenga’s death on the evening of the day he died because he knew she would be worried.
‘I was clearly upset. I was shocked,’ he said.
‘At the time I was trying to question my actions. I was feeling really upset. I didn’t want to speak to anybody.’
Tribelnig, from Surrey, Hughes, and Colin Kaler, 52 of Bedfordshire, each deny a charge of manslaughter.
The trial is not due to sit again until Monday.