Officers Restrain Man
The neighbour of a man who died after he was pinned down by police officers has told an inquest he was so weak that a 10-year-old boy could have restrained him.
Malcolm James Cash, 29, died after he was restrained by police in the back garden of a home he and his girlfriend were sharing with a friend in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, on July 5, 2002.
Louise Sharp, who lived in the same road and had met Mr Cash several times, told an inquest he could hardly stand at the time but had been pinned down so hard that his face left an indentation in the garden.
Mr Cash was held down by officers after he had taken sleeping pills then cut his arm with a razor blade and threatened to kill himself. During his restraint he experienced breathing difficulties.
He lost consciousness within minutes of his arrest and died a short time later at Kettering General Hospital.
A fresh inquest was opened into Mr Cash's death last week at Rushden and Diamonds Football Club, in Irthlingborough, Northants. A first inquest was held in 2005.
Ms Sharp, who lived in the same street as Mr Cash at the time, told the inquest he had seemed wobbly after taking a quantity of sleeping pills and could hardly stand at the time he was restrained.
Ms Sharp said one of the officers had used a sweeping kick to bring Mr Cash to the ground and that he had been restrained by five officers.
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Ifti Manzoor from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "The police actions need be put to careful scrutiny to avoid any future incidents like this occurring.
"It is always tragic where there is a death in custody and the police should use no more force than necessary.
"Clearly the inquest will need to explore why apparently it took five officers to restrain one individual who on the face of it was very ill and weak.
"There may well be a civil action against the police and this is an option the family will need to consider at the end of the inquest."