A TRIO of G4S guards accused of the 2010 manslaughter of deportee Jimmy Mubenga walked free yesterday after being cleared by an Old Bailey jury.
Campaigners branded the verdict “disappointing” and said questions remained over the death of the Angolan man onboard a plane on the Heathrow tarmac.
Terrence Hughes, Colin Kaler and Stuart Triblenig had all denied they acted improperly towards Mr Mubenga, who had allegedly been pinned to his chair face down for around 30 minutes before he died of a heart attack, with witnesses saying he’d complained that he was unable to breathe.
The father of five’s death in the custody of scandal-dogged security privateer G4S was ruled unlawful at an inquest last year, but his family’s search for a conviction failed yesterday.
Mr Mubenga’s wife Adrienne Makenda Kambana said: “Jimmy’s gone but we need justice for his children.
“My daughter was seven months at the time her father died. It breaks my heart, it makes me more determined to fight again to get justice for Jimmy and for my family.”
The guards’ solicitor Alex Preston said the trio were “delighted to have been found not guilty so quickly.”
But justice charity Inquest codirector Deborah Coles questioned how that verdict squared with the evidence.
“It is difficult to reconcile the verdict with the evidence heard at the trial that over 20 people heard Jimmy Mubenga say ‘I can’t breathe’,” she said.
“There needs to be a mechanism for state institutions and the private companies they employ to be held to account when people die. The lack of state accountability over black deaths in custody is a global issue and one that will not go away until urgently addressed.”
Amnesty International spokesman Oliver Sprague said the verdict was “extremely disappointing given the multiple failings” which led to the death.
Mr Hughes had earlier told the court that he had received no specific training in restraint techniques for use within the close confines of an aircraft.
In June, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire announced new guidelines for cases such as Mr Mubenga’s.
But Mr Sprague demanded a radical overhaul that would place “proper controls” on the firms paid by the Home Office to carry out deportations.
He added that Amnesty had documented “numerous cases of private security companies’ wholly inappropriate conduct over the last few years.
Mr Mubenga had lived in Britain for 16 years prior to his death, including two years in prison after a nightclub brawl.trial