Pictured: Suspected burglar who died after citizen's arrest

·Freelance Writer
·2-min read
Craig Wiltshire died after being apprehended on suspicion of a series of burglaries by a member of the public. (SWNS)
Craig Wiltshire died after being apprehended on suspicion of a series of burglaries by a member of the public. (SWNS)

The first picture has been released of an apparent burglar who is suspected to have died as a result of a citizen’s arrest.

Craig Wiltshire, 43, died after being apprehended on suspicion of a series of burglaries by a member of the public, Bristol Crown Court heard.

Carer Nathan Smith, 38, allegedly tackled him to the ground and pinned his chest down in the road with his head twisted to the side.

Smith is currently on trial accused of manslaughter after the jury heard Smith then knelt on the Wiltshire's back for nine minutes despite being told he could not breathe.

The jury was told Wiltshire died in hospital on 4 December 2019, two weeks after the incident.

CCTV footage shown in court heard Wiltshire twice shout “I can’t breathe”, while the defendant replied “I don’t give a f***”.

Wiltshire was seen "clearly struggling" at the time, while in police body-cam footage, Smith can be heard saying: "I grabbed him while he was on the floor – we all thought he was pretending.

Carer Nathan Smith is on trial at Bristol Crown Court. (Rodw/Creative Commons)
Carer Nathan Smith is on trial at Bristol Crown Court. (Rodw/Creative Commons)

"He (the victim) was doing everything he could, he was biting, spitting, trying to kick."

James Ward, prosecuting, said that the actual detention and subsequent restraint was "lawful" but the nature and extent of the force used by Smith was not.

He told the jury: “Nathan Smith took the opportunity to get retribution and physically hurt Craig Wiltshire as punishment for the crimes he had allegedly committed in the neighbourhood."

These crimes related to a series of break-ins of cars in the local area.

The jury was told to assume that Wiltshire was responsible for the thefts.

A post-mortem examination later gave a cause of death as cardiorespiratory arrest and subsequent brain damage.

The court heard the actions of two other men involved in the incident, Ben Crooks and Michael Crooks did not death of Wiltshire, which is why they were not charged with manslaughter.

Both men have admitted a charge of common assault.

The trial continues.

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