BA flight attendant loses claim for trauma
She witnessed horrific death of a man as guards restrained him
Former British Airways purser Louise Graham, 54, of Chalfont St Giles, has been haunted by flashbacks and depression since the incident.
She was trapped in the kitchen galley of a Boeing 737 as three guards grappled with deportee Jimmy Mubenga, who was being flown back to Angola.
Miss Graham said she was terrified by Mr Mubenga’s “howls” as he fought to escape the G4S security guards.
She told Judge Heather Baucher QC: “While he was being restrained I was just absolutely horrified by the level of violence.”
Miss Graham, who lost the flying career she loved due to her psychiatric injuries, sued G4S over the traumatic legacy of the October 2010 incident.
Her legal team claimed Mr Mubenga’s death resulted from negligence on the part of the G4S guards in restraining their charge – leading to restricted breathing and suffocation.
Witnessing his last moments while feeling both in danger and powerless triggered her mental breakdown, said Miss Graham.
However, Judge Baucher rejected her six-figure damages claim, ruling that she could not be viewed as a direct “participant” or “primary victim” of what happened.
The judge said that “all involved have acknowledged that what occurred should not have happened”.
Scott Matthewson, for G4S, had conceded that Mr Mubenga “should not have been restrained as he was”.
Mr Mubenga, a father-offive from Gants Hill, Ilford, died of suffocation after the guards handcuffed and restrained him in his seat.
Miss Graham said she was haunted by his last moments and had played a key part in trying to calm passengers.
But Judge Baucher said that by the time Mr Mubenga was calmed down and restrained, Miss Graham had no reason to feel she was personally in danger.
By then Mr Mubenga’s “prospects of escape were nil”, she added.
“She was certainly frightened at this time but not by reason of fear for her own safety.
“Therefore she cannot bring herself within the category of a primary victim, fearing for her own safety.”
Speaking after the ruling, regional general counsel for G4S in the UK and Ireland, Gawie Nienaber, said: “Anyone who saw the very distressing circumstances of Mr Mubenga’s death couldn’t fail to have been affected.
“However, the law makes clear the basis on which those present may claim damages.
“We have never disputed the profound impact that this incident had on everyone connected to it and our deepest sympathies remain with Mr Mubenga’s family.”