Widow of asylum seeker Jimmy Mubenga vows to ‘fight for justice’ after guards cleared of manslaughter
PUBLISHED: 12:08 17 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:08 17 December 2014
Three G4S custody officers have been cleared of killing an Angolan asylum seeker on board a plane at Heathrow Airport.
Gants Hill resident Jimmy Mubenga suffered a cardiac arrest and died on board the British Airways plane on October 12 2010.
Terence Hughes, 53, Colin Kaler, 52, and Stuart Tribelnig, 39, were accused of holding down the 46-year-old deportee for up to 35 minutes.
On Tuesday all three were acquitted of manslaughter by reason of an unlawful and dangerous act and manslaughter by gross negligence at the Old Bailey.
Adrienne Makenda Kambana, Mr Mubenga’s widow, said: “For the last four years I have fought for justice for Jimmy and our five children. I am shocked and disappointed by the jury’s findings.”
The jury were not told about racist texts found on the phones of both Hughes and Tribelnig after Mr Justice Spencer ruled the content was inadmissible.
Jurors were also not told an inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing.
Mr Mubenga was being deported because of a conviction and two-year jail sentence for assault in 2006 following a fight in a bar.
He was fit and healthy when he boarded the plane but the struggle which ended in his death broke out as he was led back from the toilet to his seat.
Passenger Andrew West told the court: “It looked like there was a scuffle going on.
“Mr Mubenga was saying he didn’t want to go, didn’t want to return and that he had a family.”
Speaking outside the court, Mr Mubenga’s widow, added: “I am so disappointed. I am not going to leave it like this. Jimmy was a good man, a good father and good husband. I will fight, fight for justice for him.”
Following the verdict, the guards’ solicitor Alex Preston said the three “bitterly regret” Mr Mubenga’s death and were “trying to do a very difficult job in difficult circumstances”.
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