Mechanic who killed vandal by pinning his neck to ground in citizen’s arrest over smashed windows jailed for three years

A MECHANIC who killed a 25-year-old by pinning his neck to the ground in a citizen’s arrest after he vandalised a car has been jailed for three years.

Benjamin Hunt, 32, chased after Christopher Walters after he smashed the windows of his colleague’s son’s Audi with a sledgehammer in May 2019.

Christopher Walters, 25, died while being held in a citizens arrest by mechanic Benjamin Hunt, 32

After catching up with Walters, he grabbed him by the neck and pinned him to the ground, using his body weight to trap him for several minutes – even when Walters lost conciousness.

Hunt, from Longton, was imprisoned for 38 months at Stafford Crown Court after he admitted manslaughter.

His workmate, Johnathon Hassall – who was also involved in the incident – took his own life days before he was also due to face trial for manslaughter.

The pair worked together at Hassall’s business, the New Road Garage, the court heard.

The two men were working at the garage on May 15, 2019 as Walters ran up to the establishment and used a sledgehammer to smash the windows of Hassall’s son’s Audi.

They chased Walters and managed to restrain him nearby and held him in a citizens arrest while waiting for police to arrive.

“Mr Hunt then held Mr Walters around the neck. Mr Hassall held him to the lower body,” Prosecutor Robert Price explained. “Mr Walters, in the initial stage, was resisting and shouting unusual comments.

“Mr Hunt did not release at that point as he was fearful of what Mr Walters might do to him or those around him. There came a point where Mr Walters stopped resisting. Mr Hunt thought he was either asleep or unconscious.

“When Mr Walters stopped resisting, and when he was clearly unconscious, Mr Hunt should have released his hold of Mr Walters’ neck. He did not.

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Walters had hit the late Johnathon Hassall’s son’s Audi with a sledge hammer at the New Road Garage[/caption]

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Walters’ mother Dawn Price slammed Hunt’s sentence as a joke[/caption]

“His actions at that point, he acknowledged, became excessive and unlawful.”

Officers arrived 19 minutes later to find Hunt still on top of the then unresponsive Walters.

A post-mortem concluded Walters died from compression of the neck, after finding signs of oxygen deprivation in his brain and significant bruising to his neck.

The 25-year-old had left his home he shared with his mother, Dawn Price, 58, earlier in the day to meet with friends.

They later told police he seemed “stressed and ill at ease” – but the motive for his vandalism remains unclear.

His mother Dawn, from Bentilee, slammed Hunt’s sentence as “a joke”.

“I’m not happy at all; it’s disgusting. It’s one big joke. It’s disgraceful and shocking. I don’t think the sentence is long enough.

“We heard in court that Hunt held my son’s neck down, that’s not a citizen’s arrest,” she continued.

‘They said in court that my son had gone limp and lifeless and his defence was that he thought my son was asleep.

“He wouldn’t have just thought I’m going to have a kip while he’s being restrained on the floor. It’s just a big joke.

“I’m living with a life sentence after losing Chris. I’m angry and heartbroken. That court was a mockery,” she said, adding that she “doesn’t feel like she has got justice for Chris’ death.”

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