A SECURITY guard has been jailed for six years after punching a shoplifter, causing him to fall and suffer from fatal head injuries leading to his death.

Sabeur Trabelsi, 45, of King’s Road, Reading, was found guilty of manslaughter at Reading Crown Court following a trial of delivering a ‘fatal blow’ to Jason Page, 52, on March 31, 2021.

He was jailed today (June 12) at the same court by Judge Amjad Nawaz. He will serve half of his sentence before being released on licence.

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Mr Page, who was homeless at the time of his death, had stolen about £300 of meat from the Marks and Spencers store in Chalfont Way, Lower Earley, when he was chased from the store by Trabelsi.

Following an altercation outside the BP petrol station, Trabelsi, who was 42-years-old at the time, punched Mr Page causing him to fall and hit his head.

He sadly died the following evening after suffering from ‘unsurvivable’ injuries.

As the unanimous verdict was delivered on May 4, after six hours and 52 minutes of deliberation, Trabelsi looked solemn.

He denied the charge of manslaughter and argued that he had ‘slapped’ Mr Page rather than punched and had not caused him to fall.

Trabelsi was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice by informing the ambulance crews and police that Mr Page had fallen where he had gone to run away from him.

Store duty manager Elliott Cripps, 27, of Ashbourne Crescent, Taunton, was also on trial after being charged with perverting the course of justice.

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However, he was found not guilty unanimously by the jury.

During sentencing, the court heard he has no previous convictions but three cautions, two for harassment in a domestic context in 2006 and 2013, and one for battery in June 2022 when he put his hands around the throat of a referee at an amateur football match.

Defending Trabelsi, barrister Felicia Dawy said: “This was a tragic and highly unusual case. This was a very fast-moving incident.

“For how he got involved, it was not any unlawful purpose. He was going about his role as shop security guard.

“The defendant himself came under physical attack. We don’t know the precise basis on which the jury convicted the defendant but what we do know is he was going about his job and trying to the best the could.

“This is a case where the blow – whether Your Honour finds it a punch or a slap – in which the defence of self or other is present to some extent.”

She added: “He is very saddened that Mr Page lost his life. There is very little negative, if anything, that can be said about the defendant.”

Sentencing Trabelsi, Judge Nawaz said: “When you left for work you could not have had in your mind what would unfold.

“No sentence this court can pass will put matters right where [Mr Page’s family] is concerned. They have lost his companionship forever.

“As sad as life may have had, the fact of the matter is it is a very sad loss and the court’s condolences go out to his family.

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“You will have to live with the fact you are responsible for the loss of someone’s life and that’s a very heavy burn for someone to live with.”

The starting point for Trabelsi’s sentence was seven and a half years. However, Judge Nawaz reduced it due to his ‘good character’, the remorse and the fact he remained at the scene.

He also received a two-year-old concurrent sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Victoria Hunt, of the Major Crime Unit, said: “Trabelsi was working as a security guard at the time of this tragic incident.

“While confronting Jason, he made a fateful decision to punch him, causing him to fall to the ground.

“Whatever the reason for this confrontation, the violent punch was completely unnecessary and tragically, Jason struck his head on the ground, which caused unsurvivable injuries, despite the best efforts of medical professionals.

“This case has brought into focus the tragic and devastating consequences that can occur as a result of one punch.

“Jason’s family have shown tremendous patience and dignity throughout the course of our investigation and subsequent trial, and I would like to pay tribute to them for putting their trust in us to investigate the circumstances of Jason’s death.

“I hope that this sentence and conclusion of our investigation will bring some solace to Jason’s family and his friends and our thoughts remain with them.”