Guard: Man was never forced down

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Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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A G4S guard accused of killing an Angolan deportee by restraining him on an aeroplane at Heathrow has denied he ever used a technique dubbed “carpet karaoke”.

Terrence Hughes, 53, 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.

They allegedly ignored his 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.

The 46-year-old married father had suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead in hospital.

Before Hughes joined G4S, staff at his previous security firm had used a technique of pushing a seated person’s head forward – compressing the diaphragm – to stop them spitting, jurors were told.

However, “carpet karaoke” as it was referred to was later deemed to be “malpractice” by the company, prosecutor Mark Dennis QC said.

Hughes told jurors he had seen it work on two occasions but he denied he had ever done it himself or picked it up on the job from his “elders”.

Mr Dennis asked if he had resolved to hold Mr Mubenga’s head down to “stop him making a noise” until they got into the air.

Hughes replied: “No sir. I did not agree with it when I saw it and I don’t agree with it now.”

Mr Dennis said: “We suggest that you and your colleagues were forcing Mr Mubenga forwards, holding him down, controlling him and maintaining that hold for as long as you could and as long as he resisted, you held him down.”

Hughes replied: “I don’t want to make a comment. He was never forced down with his head forced beneath his knees.”

Earlier, Hughes told jurors he favoured “talking people down” during deportations.

Mr Dennis asserted: “You’re a talker not a good listener.”

The defendant replied: “I take things on board.”

The lawyer retorted: “Not ‘I can’t breathe’,” in reference to his earlier evidence that he never heard Mubenga say the words fellow passengers said they heard while he was “thrashing around” in his seat.

The court heard that Hughes only received a half centimetre long graze in what he had described to the court as a “violent” struggle with Mr Mubenga after he had tried to get off the plane.

Mr Dennis suggested this may be because it was not as violent as he had said.

The former Navy serviceman Hughes, from Portsmouth; Colin Kaler, 52 of Kempton, Beds; and Stuart Tribelnig, 39, from Horley, Surrey, deny a charge of manslaughter.

The Old Bailey trial continues.

Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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