Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has described harrowing body cam footage of an 'unlawfully killed' father begging to be freed as he was restrained by Metrolink-contracted staff as "one of the most distressing things you could see."

He expressed sympathy to the friends and family of Jack Barnes, 29, who was pinned down outside Australasia restaurant on Deansgate in Manchester city centre.

The dad-of-one had been involved in an altercation with staff at Victoria Station, before he and a friend were chased to Spinningfields.

He repeatedly told four customer service representatives working for Metrolink that he couldn't breathe as he was put in a hold for several minutes.

A coroner at an inquest in Manchester on Friday concluded Mr Barnes was unlawfully killed.

Stephen Rowlands, Matt Sellars, Brian Gartside and Paul Fogarty were all working for Metrolink on the night of October 11, 2016.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Mr Burnham said of the body cam footage: "It is one of the most distressing things you could see.

"I feel deeply for the family and friends and it is not something you would ever want to see on the streets of Manchester."

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham at his weekly press conference on February 17, 2021
Andy Burnham said he feels deeply for the friends and family of Mr Barnes

He said he will "look carefully at the coroner's ruling, to make sure what he says is understood."

And the Mayor said he will say more next week.

Jack Barnes was restrained

But he vowed action would be taken "to avoid a repeat" of the incident so that it was "not possible for anything of this kind" to happen again.

Mr Burnham said the footage had caused "a lot of distress really right across Greater Manchester transport authorities and public bodies."

It would be looked at with "the utmost seriousness", he added.

The Mayor holds weekly press conferences and is likely to speak more about what happened to Mr Barnes next week.

Senior coroner Nigel Meadows said the men used 'excessive' and 'unreasonable' force while restraining Mr Barnes.

He said they were 'overstimulated', 'losing self control' and were 'getting carried away with the bravado of the chase'.

Body cam footage released by the court shows the incident.

The video - a written transcript of which was entered into evidence - opens with footage of Mr Barnes on the ground.

He can be heard saying: "I can't breathe, mate."

He then says: "Help me please."

Mr Barnes can then be heard saying, while lying face down on the floor: "Just help me breathe. Please, just help me breathe."

He continues: "Can I just put my arm forward?"

Mr Sellars replies: "No, no, no, you used a weapon on a member of staff. Your hand ain't going anywhere. Do you understand?"

Mr Barnes replies: "Okay, sorry bro."

He is told: "It's too late saying sorry."

Jack Barnes was restrained

A few seconds later, Mr Barnes says: "I'm not resisting, but I just can't breathe. Can you just release my neck?"

Mr Sellars replies: "You're breathing fine. You're talking."

Mr Rowlands then says: "I'll tell you what, I'll just put him out."

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The transcript provided by the court says Mr Rowlands told Mr Barnes: "I'm going to put you out now pal. All right? If you struggle I will put you to sleep. I won't kill you, I won't kill you, but you'll go to sleep for a while."

Mr Barnes is later heard to repeat that he can't breathe, before asking if he could sit up.

He then says: "I'm going to be sick, I swear down."

He is told: "No you are not."

Mr Barnes adds: "Sorry bro, I'm being serious I'm going to be sick."

He then repeats that he can't breathe, before adding: "I've got heart conditions."

Mr Barnes is told: "No you don't."

When he replies that he does, he is asked: "Then why are you threatening to stab a member of staff?"

Mr Meadows concluded Mr Barnes, who is originally from Hull and has a young daughter, suffered a cardiac arrest while being restrained - several minutes before anyone noticed.

He died a number of weeks later at Hull Royal Infirmary having suffered a fatal brain injury. 

The court heard Mr Barnes died from Bronchopneumonia, caused by hypoxic brain injury following a cardiac arrest, which was contributed to by physical exertion; prolonged and unreasonable restraint; pressure on the neck; and the consumption of synthetic cannabinoids.

Mr Meadows said Mr Gartside's and Mr Sellars' use of force was 'excessive' and 'unreasonable' and that Mr Rowalnds' use of force, in combination with Mr Fogarty, was 'grossly excessive' and 'unreasonable.'

"When Jack indicated he could not breathe he could have and should have been sat up," Mr Meadows said.

"I find these actions were unlawful.

"Mr Sellars heard Mr Rowlands say he was going to put Jack out. Mr Sellars did nothing to stop that happening and Mr Fogarty assisted in restraining Jack.

"Mr Rowlands and Mr Fogarty's actions were unlawful and deliberate.

"Jack was killed by unlawful act manslaughter by one person or joint enterprise."

The shocking footage was released by the court following Mr Meadow's conclusion.

Mr Barnes' family was represented solicitor Lauren Dale, of Hudgell Solicitors, and barrister Frederick Powell, of Doughty Street Chambers, at the inquest.

Ms Dale said: "Jack's family, particularly his sister Sam, have found viewing the video footage heartbreaking. His mother has still not been able to do so to this day."