Family Says Officers Must Take Responsibility For Their Actions As Jury Delivers Damning Narrative Verdict
The family of a man who died in the custody of West Midlands Police after they failed to appropriately monitor and take care of him says Officers must take responsibility for his death after a jury inquest found that he may have survived had he received more appropriate treatment.
Lloyd Butler, from Sheldon, Birmingham died aged 39 at Stechford Police Station after being taken into custody whilst under the influence of alcohol in August 2010. An investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found that protocol stated he should have been taken to hospital by ambulance rather than locked in a cell, and officers failed to monitor him appropriately.
The IPCC report recommended a gross misconduct charge for two of the officers responsible for Mr Butler’s wellbeing as well as lesser charges for other officers.
Today (24 June) a narrative verdict was recorded at an Inquest into his death which was listed as cardiac arrest and alcoholic liver disease but the jury found that there were several failings by Police officers which could have led to a different outcome.
The jury found that taking into account all of the evidence presented at the inquest:
- On his arrival at custody Mr Butler was incapable and according to policies in place, he should not have been detained in custody but should have been taken to A&E at the local hospital
- An inadequate risk assessment led to discretion being applied to keep Mr Butler in custody and requirements put in place for regular observations and healthcare professional
- Rousings were not adequately carried out
- Visits were not maintained on schedule
- There was a delay in the arrival of the healthcare professional to the custody block
- Had Mr Butler been monitored in A&E at the time of his heart attack, the probability is he is more likely to have survived.
CCTV footage shown to the jury at Birmingham Coroners Court showed officers pulling Mr Butler from the Police van by his legs, checking the internet and mocking him rather than regularly monitoring him in his cell.
Ifti Manzoor, a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell specialising in police misconduct and representing Mr Butler’s family, said: “The family was distraught at his death, especially when they heard the findings of the IPCC report which described some quite shocking, inappropriate and poor behaviour from officers. CCTV evidence was played to the inquest jury showing the police officer’s poor behaviour.
“The inquest examined the events leading up to Mr Butler’s death in more detail and some of the evidence was shocking. His family have campaigned for justice for his death and are pleased that the jury has recognised the seriousness of what happened. We will now be pursuing the case further with a civil claim on behalf of the family.”
Lloyd’s mother Janet Butler said: “This inquest was extremely difficult to sit through as we heard and saw some of the awful behaviour that Lloyd was subjected to whilst he was supposed to be in the care of police in custody. We are both relieved at finding out more about what happened that day, but angry and sad to learn that more could and should have been done to prevent his death.
“Although there has been a report by the IPCC, we still feel like justice has not been done as while my son has been cruelly taken away from us, the officers responsible for his care are still able to go to work every day. I also hope that any lessons that can be learnt from this are shared across the country so that others don’t have to suffer the loss of a loved one’s life as I did.”
If you or a loved one has suffered unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution or injuries caused by police, contact Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or visit our Claims Against the Police page for more information.