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Bouncer Brent Wright denies using Sleeper hold on David Ivin at Saga Christmas do in Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone

By Paul Hooper

A bouncer, accused of killing a sales agent at a Saga Christmas bash, has told a jury how he helped pin a man to the ground for 10 minutes.

Doorman Brent Wright, 36, revealed that only once did he speak to David Ivin despite suspecting he was unconscious.

Earlier in the evening the martial arts expert admitted talking to fellow doorman Martin Barnwell about a restraining technique known as “The Sleeper”.

David Ivin died after a row at a Saga staff Christmas party in Folkestone
David Ivin died after a row at a Saga staff Christmas party in Folkestone

But he denied using the move – named because it puts victims to sleep - when he tackled drunken Mr Ivin who had objected to being refused re-entry to the party at Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone.

The 16-stone Saga sales agent had stepped out for a cigarette but had forgotten to take his party invite with him.

Wright, of Broomfield Road, Folkestone and Barnwell, 30, of St John’s Road, Elvington, Dover both deny manslaughter.

The prosecution has alleged that Mr Ivin died when the two doormen held him in a hold which prevented him breathing.

Wright, a doorman for 15 years, quit his job after his arrest, saying he would never do security work ever again. He now works on the railways.

During his career he was a bouncer at clubs in Ashford, Folkestone and Maidstone and was hired by a company called 219 – which had the contract for the Saga party in 2012.

The bouncers alleged that during a confrontation Mr Ivin threw a punch at Barnwell after being bundled outside the venue.

The Leas Cliff Hall
The Leas Cliff Hall

They then grabbed hold of Mr Ivin and pulled him face down to the ground.

Wright agreed with the prosecutor that he was aware of the risks to Mr Ivins being restrained face down on the ground.

The bouncer said he had tried to lift Mr Ivin’s shoulder to ensure he could breathe.

The prosecutor Duncan Atkinson then asked: “Did the fact that Mr Ivin was very drunk and overweight cause you to say to Mr Barnwell that this isn’t the right thing to do?”

Wright replied: “No.”

Prosecutor: “And the longer he stayed there the greater the risk?”

Saga is based in Folkestone
Saga is based in Folkestone

Wright: “I believe so now and I believed so then.”

The bouncer denied holding Mr Ivin in a headlock which is part of the Sleeper Hold.

The prosecutor asked: “You did to Mr Ivin what you told him you were going to do to him..’If you don’t stop I am going to choke you out’ didn’t you?”

Wright: “No, I never said that”.

Mr Atkinson: “Not only did you say it, Mr Wright, you did it!”

Wright: “No, I never had him around the neck. I held him in the shoulder area.”

The bouncer told the jury that once Mr Ivin was on the floor he didn’t resist or move or fight against them.

The prosecutor then asked why the bouncers kept Mr Ivin in the same position for 10 minutes.

Wright replied: “Because there is always the possibility when you are restraining somebody that if you release the hold they may get back up and attack you.”

“You did to Mr Ivin what you told him you were going to do to him..’If you don’t stop I am going to choke you out’ didn’t you?” - prosecutor Duncan Atkinson to Wright

The prosecutor: “There was also the possibility you might asphyxiate him if you kept him in that position for 10 minutes and you knew that, didn’t you?”

The defendant replied: “Yes, I knew of it yes.”

Wright said two minutes after going to the ground he asked: “Are you OK matie?” and Mr Ivin just groaned.

He asked him to wake up “because he looked like he was unconscious.”

Wright said in the following eight minutes he never spoke again to Mr Ivin.

The prosecution has alleged that the restraint carried out by the two bouncers was "both considerable and excessive".

The trial continues.

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