Police criticised over cocaine custody death

Jason Oscar McPherson
Jason Oscar McPherson

originally published: 7th January 2010
all credits: The Independent

Police did not implement procedures “appropriately” when they dealt with a man who had a wrap of cocaine in his mouth, an inquest concluded today.

Jason McPherson, 25, of East Acton, west London, died after collapsing at a police station after being taken in to be searched on January 18, 2007.

He had put a packet of the drug in his mouth, which led to a struggle with officers at Notting Hill station, the inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice heard. He died in hospital later.

The jury of 11 took five hours to return a narrative verdict on Mr McPherson’s death. Westminster Coroner Paul Knapman read out the unanimous decision of the jurors, which concluded Mr McPherson was not given the opportunity to remove the drugs voluntarily.

“It is our opinion that the procedures were not appropriately implemented,” the verdict read. “Upon discovering that there were possible drugs in Jason’s mouth it did not appear Jason was given the opportunity to remove the drugs voluntarily through talking down tactical communication.”

Cocaine intoxication was given by the jury as the cause of death.

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3 thoughts on “Police criticised over cocaine custody death

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with you about the duty of care issues, this is a learning issue, which after instructions from the IPCC they will be duty bound to heed to. Very sad and tragic unnecessary death.
    Sorry, PACE is the Police and Criminal Evidence act 1986 which they are compelled to abide by when dealing with any detained person.

  2. Having read the ipcc report i am not sure that the police were to blame.This man refused to comply with requirements of P.A.C.E and swallowed some drugs.The police cannot surely be held to blame fr this ?

    1. Not sure what PACE is, however the issue here is not whether this young man was wrong to have drugs in his possession, but that police did not follow there own procedures to give him the opportunity to spit them out.

      After careful scrutiny this is where a properly formed jury found that there was misconduct on the part of the officers. This is a valid decision reached through law that should be respected.

      Regardless of this young mans wrong doing he was owed a duty of care!

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