Coroner concludes unlawful killing by manslaughter or joint enterprise in the Jack Barnes Inquest; Frederick Powell acted on behalf of the family

On the night of 11 October 2016, following an incident at Manchester Victoria Station, Jack was chased over 1000 metres to Deansgate in Manchester City Centre by four ‘Customer Safety Representatives’ who were contracted to work on the Metrolink tram system.  After a nine minute chase, in which two of the CSRs rode in a taxi, Jack was caught and restrained in a prone position for almost ten minutes.   During that time, he told those restraining him that he could not breathe no fewer than seven times. One of the restraining individuals threatened put him out and stated that Jack would “go to sleep for a while”.

Jack suffered a cardiac arrest during the restraint and consequent severe hypoxic brain injury.  He tragically died from the complications of that on 2 December 2016.

No criminal prosecution was brought against any of the individuals involved in the restraint.

At the Inquest, the Coroner concluded that Jack was killed by unlawful act manslaughter by one of the CSRs or by joint enterprise.  The Coroner stated that the use of force was “unnecessarily prolonged, grossly excessive and unreasonable”, and found that the method of the restraint, including pressure to his back and neck, compromised Jack’s breathing and increased his metabolic acidosis which led to his cardiac arrest and subsequent death.

Since the conclusion of the Inquest, Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has conveyed his sympathy to the family and vowed action to ensure that similar incidents do not happen again.   

It is understood that this is one of if not the first occasion that a coroner has returned a conclusion of unlawful killing following the change to the civil standard of proof established by the Supreme Court in R (Maughan) v HM Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire [2020] UKSC 46.

Frederick Powell, instructed by Lauren Dale of Hudgell Solicitors, acted for Jack’s family.  More coverage of the Inquest can be found on the BBC, Daily Mail, Sun, ITV, Mirror, Independent, Metro.