Free Ben Hunt
Free Ben Hunt
Why this petition matters
Ben Hunt is a mild mannered, hardworking, young family man who is a pillar of society. He has no previous convictions and poses no threat to the public at all. He has been imprisoned for 38 months for making an honest mistake that any other law abiding citizen could have made. He was working at the garage where he is employed as a mechanic when Christopher Walters, who seemed to be under the influence of drugs, began to smash the windows of a car parked outside with a sledgehammer he had stolen from the builder’s yard next door. When challenged by Ben Hunt and his employer John Hassall, Mr Walters ran away still brandishing the sledgehammer towards a school packed with young children. Fearful for the safety of the children Ben Hunt and John Hassall gave chase. They tackled Mr Walters to the ground disarming him and attempted to hold him for the police who were called by a bystander; Mr Walters was shouting threats and struggling violently. Ben Hunt held him round the neck and John Hassall held his legs as he was kicking out. After a while Mr Walters stopped struggling and seemed to go limp. Ben Hunt thought that he was playing possum and continued to hold him as he was fearful of what would happen if he got free. The police arrived after a period of 19 minutes and Mr Walters was found to be unconscious. A post mortem examination found signs of oxygen deprivation in Mr Walters’s brain and cause of death was given as compression of the neck.
Ben Hunt is a motor mechanic with no medical knowledge who could not have foreseen such a horrific end to his disarming and trying to restrain a man displaying unlawful and violent behaviour. Ben Hunt is the victim of a tragic accident caused by an unfortunate chain of events initiated by the unlawful actions of Mr Walters and exacerbated by the unreasonable length of time taken by the police to respond to the 999 call. Ben Hunt had the prosecution case hanging over his head for almost 2 years. He also had the trauma of finding the body of his employer, co-defendant, John Hassall who had hanged himself because of the worry and stress of the impending court case. Ben Hunt had to cut down the body and attempt to resuscitate John Hassall who had been like a father to him. I submit that a jail sentence of 38 months on top of the mental trauma that Ben Hunt has already suffered is a travesty of justice and that compassion rather than punishment would have best served in this instance. I believe that there but for the grace of God go I and that many law abiding citizens could have found themselves in a like situation. If you agree with me please add your signature to a petition for his release.
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- Priti PatelHome Secretary of the United Kingdom
- Jack BreretonMP for Stoke-on-Trent South