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Thousands Sign Petition To Free Man Who Killed Male Armed With Sledgehammer In Citizen's Arrest

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Thousands Sign Petition To Free Man Who Killed Male Armed With Sledgehammer In Citizen's Arrest

A campaign has been launched to free a man jailed for accidentally killing a 25-year-old male wielding a sledgehammer.

Benjamin Hunt, 32, from Longton, Staffordshire, was sentenced to 38 months in jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

He killed Christopher Walters during a citizen's arrest gone wrong. Hunt restrained him after he smashed up a car before fleeing the scene while holding the hammer.

Despite the killing, many people say Hunt should not have been jailed after he put the safety of other people before his own. More than 3,000 people have signed a petition calling for him to be freed from prison.

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Christopher Walters died following the citizen's arrest. Credit: Staffordshire Police
Christopher Walters died following the citizen's arrest. Credit: Staffordshire Police

Organiser Tony Dyer wrote in the petition: "Ben Hunt is a mild mannered, hardworking, young family man who is a pillar of society.

"He has been imprisoned for 38 months for making an honest mistake which any other law-abiding citizen could have made.

"He was working at the garage when Christopher Walters, who... began to smash the windows of a car parked outside with a sledgehammer.

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"When challenged by Ben Hunt and Jonathan Hassall, Mr Walters ran away still brandishing the sledgehammer.

"Ben Hunt and Jonathan Hassall gave chase. They tackled Mr Walters to the ground, disarmed him, and attempted to hold him for the police who were called by a bystander.

"The dad-of-two, of Longton in Staffordshire, was charged alongside his garage boss Jonathan Hassall and was jailed last month."

Mr Hassall tragically took his own life before he was due to go on trial.

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Authorities said Walters had picked up the sledgehammer and was damaging the vehicle, leading to Hunt and his colleague chasing him.

Credit: Change.org
Credit: Change.org

Numerous witnesses saw the incident, with police then turning up and capturing dashcam footage of Walters held in a neck restraint.

Det Insp Alan Lyford said: "The court heard that the force used to restrain him was excessive and went on for a long time, leading to his death.

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"This is a truly tragic case and we offer our condolences to Mr Walters' family.

"We would also thank those people who got in touch after witnessing this incident.

"It must've been distressing for them but they have assisted us in establishing what happened that afternoon."

Words: Daisy Phillipson

Featured Image Credit: Staffordshire Police

Topics: Police, crime, UK

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