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Officers Warned Over Cell Death

Police Inquest After Prisoner Death


The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has revealed that two police officers have been given formal warnings following the death of a man found hanging in a cell in West Yorkshire.

The IPCC released details of its investigation into the death of Adrian Coldwell, 30, who was discovered in a cell at Pontefract police station, after an inquest into his death finished.

A jury was told that Mr Coldwell, from Castleford, had been arrested as part of a West Yorkshire Police anti-drugs operation in December 2004 and managed to use a cord from his tracksuit bottoms as a ligature.

Following the inquest, which lasted for two weeks, the jury returned a narrative verdict. The commission later said its investigation uncovered errors which had been made during Mr Coldwell's time in custody.

These included officers spelling his name wrong on the police computer which meant the record of his being at risk of self harm was not seen.

The commission also criticised officers for allowing Mr Coldwell to have his tracksuit bottoms which had initially been removed because they contained a cord and also for failing to review a risk assessment following a medical examination.

According to the IPCC, one officer received a formal warning for the failure to reassess the risk assessment and the failure to retain the cord from Mr Coldwell's tracksuit bottoms.

Another officer received a warning for failing to check properly what property Mr Coldwell had with him as well as the failure to reassess the risk assessment.

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Ifti Manzoor from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors said: "The jury in this inquest returned a critical verdict which highlighted many failures by the police.

"It is my view that warnings given to police officers in these circumstances are not appropriate as following proper procedure could have saved Mr Coldwell from death.

"The family of Mr Coldwell could now pursue a civil action against the police for Negligence."

"I deal with many actions against the police claims where I pursue claims for damages for negligence for various wrongs including malicious prosecution and false imprisonment."