Unlawful killing of man by a security guard and member of the public; Frederick Powell represented the Family

On 12 April 2019, Gavin Brown, a Black man, was restrained in a MMA-style chokehold for over six minutes outside a pub in Manchester. He died 8 days later from his injuries. A jury inquest has concluded that he was unlawfully killed.

The Inquest heard evidence that Gavin was restrained by five or six people, including two security guards, when a member of the public, acting out of drunken bravado, intervened and restrained Gavin in what eyewitnesses described as a “rear naked chokehold” (a technique commonly used in Mixed Martial Arts).

The Jury found that Gavin was held in that position for more than six minutes.  For most of that period, he lay motionless on the ground.  Despite noticing a reduction in Gavin’s resistance and movement and deeming that “the situation was under control”, those restraining Gavin did not meaningfully reduce the force of their restraint. Nobody, including the trained door supervisor who held Gavin’s upper body, spoke to Gavin or checked on his condition at any stage. The door supervisor also failed to challenge the use of force, even though he had received training about the dangers of neck restraint and the need to monitor the condition of the person being restrained.

At some point during the restraint, Gavin suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest, which the Jury found was caused by the neck compression.  The cardio-respiratory arrest caused Gavin to suffer irreversible brain damage, from which he died eight days later in hospital.

Despite the seriousness of the incident, no charges were brought against any of the individuals implicated in Gavin’s death.  Following the Jury’s conclusion, the Coroner (Mr Andrew Bridgman) has referred the matter to Greater Manchester Police for reconsideration of criminal charges in conjunction with the CPS.

Frederick Powell, instructed by Lucie Boase of Broadie Jackson Canter, acted for Gavin’s Family. A fuller article is available on Inquest’s website here.  See coverage on the Manchester Evening NewsThe IndependentBBC. Frederick has acted in other inquests involving death during restraint by security guards, including the Michael Thorley Inquest and the Jack Barnes Inquest, both of which also resulted in conclusions of unlawful killing.