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Inquest Investigates Police Failings After Young Man Kills Himself

Our Public Law solicitors represented the family of a young man at an inquest into his death, after he took his own life just hours after being released from police custody. He had struggled with mental health issues prior to his arrest; the inquest found that there were significant failings in the treatment he had received from the Devon and Cornwall Police and also investigated the care he had received from his local NHS trust.

Logan Peters was only 22 years old when he died in 2014. He was arrested while he was on a night out in Plymouth with his cousin – but his mistreatment at the hands of the police would have devastating consequences. 

He was detained unlawfully after a stop and search, put in an unauthorised headlock and slammed up against a police car. He was then thrown to the ground. 

At the police station, he was subjected to an unauthorised strip search. When he was put in a cell, the distressed young man butted the walls and tried to strangle himself. Despite this, police dismissed his behaviour as simple 'attention-seeking' and did nothing to intervene.

Shortly after being released from police custody, Logan killed himself. His devastated family came to us to see if we could help represent them at the inquest and make sure they got answers about the events leading up to his death. 

The seven day inquest found that Logan’s treatment had been needlessly harsh and had put both his physical and psychological health at risk. Police officers used unreasonable force and subjected him to humiliating procedures that were both unnecessary and unauthorised. They also failed to respond appropriately to his complaints and to recognise the danger he posed to himself. 

The inquest also heard how Logan had been trying to access mental health support services in the days before his arrest but was still waiting on a routine appointment. He had visited his GP about depression and a self-harm incident, and had been referred to Cornwall Partnership Trust’s community mental health team. 

Unfortunately, before he was able to receive the care he needed, he would suffer the mistreatment that would cause irreparable damage and ultimately end in his death. 

The Coroner indicated that he would prepare a Prevention of Future Death report for the Chief Constable. This would lay out his concerns about the behaviour of the Devon and Cornwall officers and provide a framework to review current practice, ensuring the same mistakes were not made in future. 

Fiona McGhie represented Logan’s family at inquest. A solicitor with extensive experience in cases where people have died in police custody, Fiona said this of Logan’s case:

"This tragic case highlights real concerns about the inadequate understanding by a number of police officers of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, a key piece of legislation in their daily duties.

"Logan’s family have understandably been left absolutely devastated by his death. There are clearly a number of issues that require addressing by the police concerning the lack of awareness among the Devon and Cornwall officers who dealt with Logan during his arrest and during the time he spent in custody. 

"This resulted in Logan being subjected to an unlawful period of detention, unlawful force and an unlawful strip search, with devastating consequences for a young man who considered his rights were being violated.

"Logan’s family are thankful a thorough inquest has taken place into his death and hope that lessons are learned so that this tragic case is not repeated in the future."

Logan’s father, Rob, said: "We would like to thank the coroner for leading a constructive and sensitive investigation into Logan’s death. 

"His death has been absolutely shocking for all of us and we are still struggling to come to terms with everything that happened. Logan had a strong sense of right and wrong and if he were alive today, he would be pleased to see that he has been vindicated in his assertion of his rights.

"Our suffering has been made worse by the knowledge that Logan was released from police custody without an accurate pre-release risk assessment despite evidence that he had attempted self-strangulation while in custody.

"We urge Devon and Cornwall Police to make the necessary changes to ensure that all police officers fully understand their legal powers and that there is better communication in custody to ensure full assessment of the risks posed to vulnerable people."

If you or a loved one has suffered mistreatment at the hands of the police or another authority, we urge you to get in touch. Our lawyers have the expertise and dedication to get you the justice you deserve – call today on 0800 028 1943 or head over to our Public Law and Human Rights team page

 





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