18 Apr 2023, 17:39
Marks and Spencer
An M&S security guard has been accused of killing a homeless man with a single punch after he was suspected of stealing £300 of meat from the store.
Reading Crown Court has heard that a “knockout blow” killed Jason Page after the alleged incident on March 31, 2021. Sabeur Trabelsi, who was an M&S security guard at the time, appeared in court to deny the charge of manslaughter.
Jason Page died after he was allegedly chased by an M&S security guard (Credit: Thames Valley Police)
M&S security guard accused of killing homeless man
It has been alleged that Page, who was said to be homeless, was caught stealing £300 worth of meat from a Marks and Spencer store in Reading. It’s claimed he was then chased by Trabelsi and store manager Elliot Cripps – who is charged with perverting the course of justice – before Page was punched in the head outside a BP garage.
The incident is alleged to have taken place in Lower Earley, Reading, the jury heard.
Page, who was 52 and living at the Salvation Army Hostel, later died in hospital after reportedly suffering a bleed to the brain.
A prosecutor claimed Trabelsi had lied to police and his co-workers about what had happened, claiming the victim was so drunk he lost his balance and fell over.
The jury heard that the security guard, along with Cripps, chased the man and his accomplice, Oswold Walker, out of the store.
The case continues at Reading Crown Court (Credit: Splash News)
Jury showed CCTV footage of alleged incident
CCTV footage showed Page and Walker walking into the M&S shop 30 minutes before closing. Page was said to have had a “noticeable bulge” around his stomach. This turned out to be a plastic bag. It’s claimed he then “whipped out” the bag for Mr Walker to stuff it full of expensive meat.
Opening the trial, Prosecutor Charles Ward Jackson said the shop had fallen victim to a number of thefts, which led to them hiring a security guard.
He said: “In the later part of 2020, the M&S store had suffered a spate of frequent high value theft by shoplifters. One of the items frequently stolen was meat. You may have seen that they are now being locked up in little containers in stores. As a result, the shop in December 2020 started to hire security.”
Unlike police officers, security guards are only able to detain someone under citizen’s arrest until police arrive. The prosecutor then told the jury that security guards could use reasonable force to detain somebody and reasonable force in self-defence.
It’s claimed Trabelsi caught up with Page and detained him. Page was then “wrestled to the ground” as Cripps allegedly grabbed the bag from him, the Reading Chronicle reports. When Page got back on his feet, Trabelsi is alleged to have delivered a “knockout blow”. The jury then heard this caused him to fall backwards and crash onto the pavement.
‘He suffered a serious head inury’
Mr Ward-Jackson added: “From CCTV, we see Mr Page lying motionless and Mr Trabelsi and Mr Cripps walking away back to M&S. After a couple of seconds, they go back and check on him. They lean over him. It must have been obvious to them that he had suffered a serious head injury.” He then added: “Having realised that Mr Page was injured Cripps dialled 999.”
After the alleged attack Mr Page initially stood up and walked onto the ambulance to be checked over but then he soon started bleeding from his nose. He was rushed to intensive care in hospital where he died the following day.
A post-mortem found a number of injuries, including a fracture to his skull, right temple and nose. The cause of his death was listed as a head injury. Toxicology reports showed a significant amount of alcohol in his blood, the jury heard.
The trial continues at Reading Crown Court.
ED! has contacted M&S for comment.
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