A Marks & Spencer security guard has been sentenced to six years for killing a shoplifter after chasing and punching him.
Sabeur Trabelsi, 45, former security guard as well as a former Tunisian international footballer, chased and struck Jason Page, 51, after Mr Page and an accomplice of him stole a large quantity of meet and a crate of beer from the store on 31 March 2021.
Mr Page hit his head on the ground and died in hospital the following day.
Trabelsi was previously accused of killing shoplifter with a “knockout blow” and was convicted of manslaughter and perverting the court of justice at Reading Crown Court.
Judge Amjad Nawaz told Trabelsi: “You were attacked from behind by Mr Walker [the accomplice] causing no significant injuries.
“Mr Page continued on his way… You dealt him a blow that was quite forceful.
“He may well have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He fell as a free weight, without control of his body… and struck his head.”
The attack happened in Chalfont Way in Lower Earley.
Higher level of self-restraint is expected in security trade, judge said
The judge said Mr Page appeared to recover but died 24 hours later in hospital from an “unsurvivable” skull fracture.
Passing sentence, Judge Nawaz said: “By lashing out in the way that you did, you must have intended some harm or were reckless to the harm caused.
“Members of the public, knowing that you were somebody in the security trade… expect a higher level of self-restraint because of the nature of the job and the nature of the personalities you are likely to come across.”
A Marks & Spencer spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Page’s family and friends at this difficult time.”
The problem of excessive use of force
The case sparked an online discussion as it highlighted the problem of excessive use of force as well as frustration among security professionals.
Some found the culprit in the withdrawal of the police from shops, leaving them to cope for themselves.
Some others made the same point as the prosecutor who, summing up the case, had previously said: “He (Trabelsi) had pent-up anger. He was angry and wound up, or to use his words – frustrated.
“Which is anger or frustration and if that is right, this is not a case of self-defence but a blow committed on the spur of the moment aimed in anger.”
Simon Cham, Security Advisor at Warrior Doors, similarly said: “The violence in this news item highlights the frustration and total lack of grip we all have on a well-known problem, it’s not just ‘the police response’ which is at fault.”