A GUARD has been cleared of killing an Angolan deportee by restraining him on a plane at Heathrow using a banned technique known as ‘carpet karaoke’.
G4S guard Terrence Hughes, 53, from Portsmouth was accused alongside Colin Kaler and Stuart Tribelnig, of forcing Jimmy Mubenga’s head down, restricting his breathing for 36 minutes as the British Airways flight prepared to take off.
By the time the cabin crew raised the alarm on October 12, 2010, Mr Mubenga had collapsed and gone into cardiac arrest. He died later in hospital.
Passengers said they heard Mr Mubenga cry out ‘I can’t breathe’ as he was pinned down in his seat – despite being handcuffed from behind with his seat belt on.
But the guards denied restraining the 46-year-old, and insisted they never heard him shout that he was struggling to breathe.
The jury found the three men not guilty of Mr Mubenga’s manslaughter following a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
Outlining the case, prosecutor Mark Dennis QC said that before boarding the plane, Mr Mubenga had been ‘fit and healthy’ and co-operative but had become upset after talking on his mobile in the toilet cubicle.
Before Hughes joined G4S, staff at his previous security firm had used the technique called ‘carpet karaoke’.
But the restraint of pushing a seated person’s head forward, compressing the diaphragm, to stop them spitting was later deemed ‘malpractice’.
Hughes told jurors he had seen it work on two occasions but he denied he had ever used it himself or picked it up on the job from his ‘elders’.
In a statement issued on behalf of the three guards, Alex Preston of Olliers Solicitors, said: ‘They bitterly regret the death of Mr Mubenga but have always said they were trying to do a very difficult job in difficult circumstances to the best of their ability.
‘They are grateful to the judge and jury for the care they have taken resolving these sad events.’