Folkestone Door Supervisor Brent Wright Guilty of Killing David Ivin at Saga Christmas Party

Mark Dawes – Saturday, July 05, 2014

You may have seen the case of David Ivin recent reported in the press who died as a result of being forcibly restrained on the ground at a Saga Christmas party in.

Mark Dawes (NFPS) was the Expert Witness in this case and my brief was to to provide an expert opinion as to whether the actions of the door staff who restrained Mr. Irvin complied with or deviated from, the approved training as required by the SIA (Security Industry Authority) and also to provide expert witness testimony as to the restraint methods used and the risks posed to the deceased and whether or not they were appropriate in the circumstances considering the series of events that unfolded that led to Mr. Ivin’s death.

The story that was reported on Saturday July 5th 2014 on Kent Online was as follows:

Bouncer Brent Wright jailed after forcing clubber David Ivin into ‘sleeper hold’ during Christmas part at Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone

A martial arts expert has been jailed for six years today – for killing a man attending a Saga Christmas party.

Victim David Ivin, 36, died after being brought to the ground by bouncer Brent Wright in 2012.

The married sales agent for the Folkestone-based company had just gone out for a cigarette at the event in the town’s Leas Cliff Hall.

But a jury at Canterbury Crown Court heard that he was unaware of the “no re-admittance”policy which was being policed by security guard Wright.

During an argument Wright, 36, and colleague, Martin Barnwell bundled him outside and brought him to the ground after Wright told him he was going to “choke him out”.

There he was held on the ground for 10 minutes – even though for eight minutes he was probably unconscious.

Earlier in the evening Wright, of Broomfield Road, Folkestone, had been boasting of his martial arts skills which included a “sleeper hold” – a choke hold which induced unconsciousness.

Now the jury has decided the hold Wright used to bring the 16 stone Mr Ivin to the ground was illegal and led to his death.

They found Wright guilty of manslaughter but acquitted Barnwell, 30, from Dover after deliberating for nearly 14 hours.

Judge Adele Williams told Wright: 

After two minutes on the ground you knew he was unconscious yet you kept him there for a further eight minutes without seeking help or checking on his well being. You knew how dangerous it was. Of course you did not set out to kill David Ivin or to cause him any harm but you were grossly negligent. But that level is high and you knew the risks and dangers but you went ahead and did what you did. No sentence I can pass can put a value on David Ivin’s life. I could not possibly do so. His loss is incalculable.”

She told Wright: “I am sure if you could put the clock back then you would and you will have to live with the consequences for the rest of your life”.

Oliver Saxby QC said Wright had received no training in restraint techniques but accepted he should not have used the neck hold.

He added that in an earlier incident when Wright was on duty at a Wetherspoons pub police had commended his actions.

The judge said that Barnwell had failed to show patience when Mr Ivin tried to return to the party where 500 colleagues were enjoying the evening, and that Wright had “failed to listen to what Mr Ivins was saying” before taking him outside and forcing him to the ground.

She added: “You put Mr Ivin in a dangerous neck hold with one arm around his neck. You were also leaning on him. This caused compression of his neck. That together with other factors all contributed to his breathing being compromised and his heart then stopping.”

The judge also commended the police officers who led the manslaughter probe “for their thorough investigation”.

Point To Note

Many training companies feel frustrated by the limited scope of what the SIA (Security Industry Authority) allow to be taught on the Physical Intervention Unit of the Door Supervisors Course with many saying that it is “not realistic” when considering the level of restraint sometimes required in some venues.

However, there is an option and that is to teach additional skills that are commensurate to the risks that door supervisors and the public are likely to be exposed to on each specific venue, and the SIA validate this as is shown from the following content of an e-mail sent to me by the SIA that clarifies this exact point:

“As a general comment, the purpose of the SIA training is to establish the standard required for someone to qualify for a licence. We don’t restrict training; we encourage employers and individuals to get any further appropriate training where it is necessary for their specific needs.

In terms of the training itself, this includes both knowledge and skills. The knowledge deals with a wider scope of activities, and includes knowledge of the medical/legal risks, etc., involved in any physical intervention. The skills are the ‘low level restrictive or non-restrictive’. The definition of non-restrictive, the awarding body guidance gives, is the one where the subject can walk away, however the definition of low-level restrictive means that they could be applied against someone’s will, if for example they were escorting someone from a premises that they did not want to leave.

As we discussed, the definition of low-level restrictive excludes (via the programme approval criteria) wrist/arm locks, strikes, and any techniques that involve the neck, etc. That would fall into the definition of highly restrictive intervention and we advise people to take this sort of training where necessary.

In terms of the legislation, we say that the licence-linked qualification in no way changes the obligation of an individual to act in accordance with the law on the use of force that applies to any private citizen, and that the training does not change the employer’s legal obligations with regard to ensuring the safety and security of customers and employees. We make it clear that this includes the need for any additional training that a Door Supervisor may require that is identified via an employer’s risk assessment of a particular venue or event.

We do not mention Human Rights Legislation by name, but make it clear that individuals must comply with the law.”

In short, the physical intervention training for door supervisors is a base-line course designed to provide door staff with a basic understanding of what they can and can’t do.

If additional training is required then this should be provided in line with a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk as required under Health & Safety legislation.

Key Failures

Key common failings in this case and in other similar cases are due to a lack of the following common points:

1. A restraint that is allowed to go on for a prolonged period of time.
2. Lack of suitable and sufficient training.
3. No effective monitoring of the person being restrained.