THE jury in the Bijou Nightclub manslaughter trial has retired to begin considering its verdict.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, sent the panel out just minutes ago, at 2.50pm.

Ciaran Spencer, who was a doorman at the club in Chapel Lane, Bingley, denies the unlawful killing of James Etherington after taking him in a headlock to eject him in the early hours of November 25, 2017.

Mr Etherington, 24, died ten days later from a traumatic brain injury after his head struck the pavement.

Spencer, 25, of Green Head Drive, Utley, is accused of using inappropriate force that rendered Mr Etherington unconscious before he fell and sustained a fractured skull.

Earlier in the day Spencer’s barrister, Richard Wright QC, urged the jury to find him not guilty.

In his closing speech at Bradford Crown Court, Mr Wright described it as “a tragic case” that aroused strong emotions.

“James Etherington didn’t deserve to die, of course he didn’t,” he said.

Mr Wright told the jurors they were not here to “bring closure to a grieving family or avenge a death by righting a wrong”.

He said the prosecution had fallen short of proving its case.

The entire incident in the club lasted 25 seconds against a background of pounding music, people all around and violence being threatened.

Ciaran Spencer must be judged “in the moment,” Mr Wright said.

He was correct in asking Mr Etherington to leave the club. He then took off his jacket and lunged at Spencer.

The jury was being invited to “condemn and criminalise” Spencer’s behaviour as he took Mr Etherington in a headlock to get him out.

“Of course he got it wrong, if he hadn’t got it wrong, he wouldn’t be here,” Mr Wright said.

But was the force used disproportionate in that moment?

Mr Etherington, who was 6ft 5ins tall and weighed just over 14 stone, was “resisting all the way out of the club,” Mr Wright said.

He conceded that the test message Spencer sent afterwards, saying: “I’ve just choked someone out,” was “grubby and unpleasant”.

But it didn’t mean that he wanted Mr Etherington to be fatally injured or was glad that it had happened.

Prosecuting counsel, David Brooke QC, said Spencer was “trying to cover his tracks,” when he asked that the message be deleted.

He was getting rid of evidence of “the damning admission”.

Spencer made no effort to help the unconscious Mr Etherington outside the club.

“Doesn’t that speak volumes about what really happened?” Mr Brooke told the jury in his closing speech.

The prosecution had proved that Spencer did not use reasonable force.

He would have foreseen that taking Mr Etherington in a headlock would cause him harm.

“He was a professional, there to do a job, not to commit a crime,” Mr Brooke said.

Spencer reduced Mr Etherington to unconsciousness in a headlock and then let him go, causing his death.

The trial, which began on Monday, continues.