Cops made fun out of dying prisoner

originally published by: Bexley Times 24
4th February 2010

Police officers laughed and joked about a young man they saw die on the floor of a cell, an inquest heard.

Paul Coker, 32, died at Plumstead Police Station, two hours after he was arrested at the house of Lucy Chadwick, on suspicion of breaching the peace, in the early hours of August 6, 2005.

The jury at his inquest at Southwark Coroners Court this week, heard how he struggled with several police officers and tried to jump out of a first floor window.

He was taken to Plumstead Police Station and put in cell eight, where he stripped off to his boxer shorts and one sock.

Jurors were shown CCTV footage inside the cell, showing Mr Coker lying face-down on the floor, next to the toilet basin in his cell, not moving, for approximately 15minutes, before he is pronounced dead.

About five minutes after Mr Coker is pronounced dead, an officer in the custody suite can be heard on CCTV saying “you have to get one death in custody under your belt.”

Minutes before the death is announced, a voice from, whom it is believed to be PS30RG Darren Squirrell, can he heard saying: “If he stays here he’s going to be a death in custody.”

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