London

Vauxhall nightclub bouncers 'pinned down and killed man'

The No 65 Clu Image copyright Google
Image caption The alleged incident happened outside the No 65 club in Vauxhall in June

Three bouncers killed a man they pinned down for "around six minutes" outside a south London nightclub, a court heard.

Post-mortem tests found Adam Hird, 30, was asphyxiated as he was held down after trying to get into the No 65 club in Vauxhall, the trial heard.

Mark Pantallaresco, 51, Lewis Thorne, 22, and Sebastiano Ragusa, 31, are on trial at the Old Bailey accused of Mr Hird's manslaughter by gross negligence.

They deny the charges.

Prosecuting lawyer Duncan Atkinson said an examination of the victim's body found "excessive and inappropriate pressure was applied to his neck and or his chest", which, combined with the "rigidity and duration of the restraint", would have made it difficult for him to breathe.

Victim 'stopped struggling'

The court heard Mr Hird, from Epping in Essex, had depression and had been out with other people with mental health issues at a nearby restaurant before the incident.

He was described as "exuberant" rather than drunk before he arrived at the club early on 15 June and had already been turned away once, the court heard.

Mr Atkinson said Mr Hird became verbally abusive during a row and may have hit Mr Ragusa.

He said Mr Hird appeared to be "angry and aggressive", which bouncers were trained to deal with using the minimum level of force, without posing any risk to his wellbeing.

Mr Atkinson said the three bouncers restrained Mr Hird after another "took him to the ground".

"Mr Ragusa held his legs whilst Mr Thorne and Mr Pantallaresco held Mr Hird's body and head respectively," added the lawyer.

The six minutes he was held down for was an "extremely dangerous" length of time, the prosecution said.

Witnesses said they saw the victim had stopped struggling and told the three bouncers who "eventually realised Mr Hird was unconscious and released him", he said.

Mr Thorne is from Meads Way, in Brentwood, Essex. Mr Ragusa is from Lewisham, south London, and Mr Pantallaresco is from Tadworth, in Surrey.

The case continues.

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