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Criminal law: No charge for members of the public who brought about the death of an armed robber while restraining him in the street

Despite the death of Clint Townsend, an armed robber who was held down by brave passers by after he raided a jewellers, a coroner has ruled that those restraining him committed no crime, reports the Daily Mail.

In an armed raid on an Oxford jewellers in March last year, Clint Townsend, was observed by a number of passers by, eight of whom acted with bravery by wrestling him to the ground and detaining him until the police arrived.

The eight members of the public were only on top of Townsend for three to four minutes as the police response was incredibly swift. However, during those few minutes, Townsend fell into a coma as his brain was starved of oxygen and died the following day.

Unbeknownst to the eight restrainers, Townsend had a pre-existing heart condition. He was suffering from a severe case of heart disease and had the capacity for just one millimetre of blood flow through one of his coronary arteries.

Although the restraint resulted in Townsend's death, a coroner has ruled that none of the restrainers acted unlawfully. A verdict of misadventure was reached. Commenting on the case, the assistant coroner for Oxfordshire stated: '"I am not satisfied to the required standard of proof that any of those men acted unreasonably and unlawfully...There has been a deliberate act but the consequences and the fatal outcome was not intended by those people"', reports the Daily Mail.

A verdict of misadventure is reached when a person accidentally brings about the death of an individual while acting legally and without negligence or any intent to harm the victim. It was clear i n this case that the eight men involved were not intending to kill Townsend, but simply to prevent his escape and hand him over to the police.

The coroner went on to praise those eight men for their bravery in acting in a dangerous and frightening situation.