Man jailed for 38 months for manslaughter in Longton
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A Stoke-on-Trent man has been jailed for 38 months for manslaughter following an incident where a man died in a Longton street.
Ben Hunt was sentenced at Stafford Crown Court on Friday (April 16) after pleading guilty to the offence in an earlier hearing on 5 March.
The court heard that Hunt, 32, and a colleague, were working at a garage in Speedwall Street, Longton at about 2pm on 15 May 2019 when they heard the alarm of an Audi activate outside.
A man called Christopher Walters had picked up a sledgehammer and was causing damage to the Audi.
Hunt and his colleague ran after 25-year-old Mr Walters, who was still carrying the hammer. They chased him along Wood Street, to a grassy area where they caught up with him some 400 metres from the garage.
The men took Mr Walters to the ground and restrained him. A number of people witnessed the incident – passers-by, drivers and some from nearby properties.
Police attended and body-worn camera footage showed Mr Walters still held in the neck restraint.
He was taken to hospital, but pronounced dead just after 4pm.
The post mortem found the cause of death to be due to ‘compression of the neck.’ The pathologist also recorded deep bruising from the left shoulder to the chest, bruising to the nose and face and abrasions to the arms and hands.
Hunt said in interview that his reaction was reasonable force used in self-defence.
Detective Inspector Alan Lyford, of Staffordshire Police, described the incident as a sad and tragic case.
“The court heard that the force used to restrain him was excessive and went on for a long time, leading to his death.
“This is a truly tragic case and we offer our condolences to Mr Walters’ family. We would also thank those people who got in touch after witnessing this incident. It must’ve been distressing for them but they have assisted us in establishing what happened that afternoon.”
Hunt’s colleague, who had also earlier been charged with manslaughter, died in March.