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Folkestone bouncer Brent Wright guilty of killing David Ivin at Saga Christmas party at Leas Cliff Hall

By Paul Hooper

A bouncer who boasted of his martial arts skills has been convicted of killing a Saga employee at a company Christmas bash in Folkestone.

Jurors heard how Brent Wright had revealed he knew a special "sleeper hold" – so called because it made victims unconscious.

Now the 36-year-old is facing a long prison sentence today after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of married David Ivin.

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

After the verdicts at Canterbury Crown Court, Mr Ivin's widow Delia said the family was now "relieved" justice has been done.

Mrs Ivin, her daughter Kim and Mr Ivin's mother Jenny broke down and wept as the jury convicted Wright after retiring for nearly 14 hours.

"David's loss will leave a large hole not only in our lives, but also in the lives of his many friends..." - David Ivin's family

They found another bouncer Martin Barnwell, of St John's Road, Elvington, Dover, not guilty of manslaughter.

The two men had been on duty at Folkestone's Leas Cliff Hall in December 2012 for the annual Christmas bash for employees at Saga.

Mr Ivin, who had been enjoying the night dancing with colleagues, stepped out for a cigarette – unaware there was a no re-admittance policy.

The court heard when he returned minutes later, he was confronted by door staff - from a company called 219 Security - who refused to allow him back inside.

The shocked sales agent was bundled to the ground and held in a choke hold for 10 minutes. By the time police arrived, he had died from "cardio-respiratory arrest".

The Leas Cliff Hall
The Leas Cliff Hall

Now a jury has ruled Wright's neck or choke hold caused the death – and he will be sentenced today.

In a statement, Mr Ivin's family said: "The last year-and-a-half have been a long hard period for David's family and friends.

"We have had to listen to evidence which we have found both upsetting and distressing. While we are disappointed that only Wright has been convicted we are grateful that justice has been done."

The family then thanked the police, prosecution, victim support staff and "various agencies" for "all who worked tirelessly to achieve justice".

But they added: "Despite this result we would like to add that David's loss will leave a large hole not only in our lives, but also in the lives of his many friends."

The case was heard at Canterbury Court
The case was heard at Canterbury Court

Wright, of Broomfield Road, Folkestone had denied the offence, claiming he always ensured Mr Ivin could breathe.

But prosecutor Duncan Atkinson told the jury: "The restraint of Mr Ivin was unnecessary and the manner and duration was excessive and contrary to proper training and techniques. It posed an obvious and serious risk to Mr Ivin's health."

Wright was remanded in custody overnight and will be sentenced by Judge Adele Williams.

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