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Inquest Finds Cumulative Impact Of Police Failures Contributed To 22-Year-Old Man’s Death

Devastated Family Call For Lessons To Be Learned Following Son’s Death


The devastated parents of a 22-year-old man who took his own life shortly after being released from police custody have called for lessons to be learned in the way people with mental health problems are dealt with by the police and mental health services following an inquest into his death.


Logan Peters from Elm Park, Millbrook, near Torpoint, took his own life on 8 May 2014 shortly after he was released by Devon and Cornwall Police following an arrest.


His father Rob instructed public law specialists at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the treatment of their son by Devon and Cornwall Police and the care he received from the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.


A seven-day inquest at the Coroner’s Court in Truro heard that before his arrest Logan had visited his doctor regarding depression and a self-harm incident and had been referred to Cornwall Partnership Trust’s community mental health team. He was waiting for a routine appointment at the time of his death.


The coroner Andrew Cox also heard that while in custody, Logan attempted to wrap an anti-harm blanket around his neck. Shortly afterwards he was released on bail and told his father, Rob, that excessive force was used during his arrest.


The Coroner directed the jury to find that there was an unlawful period of detention, which rendered the force used in that period of unlawful detention, also unlawful. He also directed the jury that an unlawful strip search had taken place in custody.


Today, at the end of the inquest into Logan’s death, the jury found that the series of events which led up to Logan’s death, including the lack of compliance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, as well as the unreasonable force used had a negative impact on Logan’s physical and psychological wellbeing.


They found that the failure to record and address Logan’s complaint of mistreatment significantly contributed to a further deterioration of his psychological wellbeing.


The Coroner indicated that he would write to the Chief Constable by way of Prevention of Future Death report, setting out his concerns about the unlawful detention, force and strip search as well as the poor management of Logan’s complaint.


Fiona McGhie, a specialist solicitor at Irwin Mitchell representing Logan’s family, said:


Expert Opinion
“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. It was particularly poignant for Logan given his experience a few weeks previously of a police investigation into an allegation of assault he made which he did not feel was being taken seriously.

“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.”
Fiona McGhie, Associate


Logan’s father Rob Peters, speaking on behalf of the family, 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 have been unfairly treated or unlawfully arrested by the police, our police complaints solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Protecting Your Rights page for more information or inquire online.

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