G4S deportee Jimmy Mubenga was 'not forced down', court hears

Jimmy Mubenga
Image caption Jimmy Mubenga, a married father, suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead in hospital in October 2010

A G4S guard accused of killing an Angolan deportee by restraining him on an aeroplane, has denied ever using a technique known as "carpet karaoke".

Terrence Hughes, 53, was one of three guards escorting Jimmy Mubenga from the UK when he collapsed in his seat before take-off from Heathrow.

His cries of "I can't breathe" were ignored and he was kept handcuffed with his head forced down for 36 minutes, the Old Bailey trial has heard.

Mr Mubenga died on 12 October 2010.

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

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Former Navy serviceman Terrence Hughes, (left) told the Old Bailey Jimmy Mubenga was "never forced down"

Mr Hughes, from Hampshire, Colin Kaler, 51, from Bedfordshire, and Stuart Tribelnig, 38, from Surrey, deny his manslaughter.

Before Mr 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.

Mr Hughes told jurors he had seen it work on two occasions but 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.

Mr Hughes replied: "No sir. I did not agree with it when I saw it and I don't agree with it now."

'Talking people down'

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."

Mr Hughes replied: "I don't want to make a comment. He was never forced down with his head forced beneath his knees."

Earlier, Mr Hughes told jurors he favoured "talking people down" during deportations.

The court heard Mr 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 tried to get off the plane.

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

The trial continues.

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