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

By Paul Hooper

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.

Bouncer Brent Wright has been jailed for six years

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.

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

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.

The Leas Cliff Hall

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.

Judge Adele Williams at Canterbury Crown Court

Mr Saxby added that after the jury had retired Wright had expressed his regrets to Mr Ivin’s family for the pain and distress he had caused.

“Friends had revealed just how absolutely devastated he is by what happened. This was completely out of character, “ he added.

But 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.

“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" - Judge Adele Williams

And Wright “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”.

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