Guards arrested over death of Angolan man

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The Independent Online

Three civilian security guards were arrested yesterday over the death of an Angolan man while they were deporting him from the UK.

Jimmy Mubenga, 46, collapsed on a passenger jet at Heathrow Airport while he was being escorted by the three men as he waited to be flown back to his homeland last week.

The three, aged 35, 48 and 49, were arrested at a West London police station yesterday and have been released on police bail until December pending further inquiries.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The deceased was being deported from the UK under escort by civilian security guards. Inquiries continue to establish the full circumstances of the incident. The death is being treated as unexplained at this stage."

Mr Mubenga became unwell while he was under the escort of the guards on a British Airways flight that was preparing to leave Heathrow for Angola shortly before 8.30pm last Tuesday.

He was taken to Hillingdon Hospital, in Uxbridge, but was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Post mortem examinations to find out how he died have so far proved inconclusive, and further tests will now take place.

Eyewitnesses have claimed that Mr Mubenga was held down by the guards when he was on the aircraft and had complained of breathing difficulties.

Scotland Yard confirmed that their homicide unit had taken command of the investigation after it was initially dealt with by officers from Heathrow CID.

The Home Office said that it could not comment on claims that Mr Mubenga had been restrained before his death.