Care assessed after police custody death in Warwickshire

originally published by: BBC News
published: 7th September 2010

Care for a man who collapsed in police custody and died was below the standard expected, an investigation has found.

It said Sean Walsh, 42, was taken in 2008 to the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Nuneaton and assessed as being unfit for questioning as he was intoxicated. The Independent Police Complaints Commission added officers did not seek medical advice at appropriate times.

Warwickshire Police said it had reacted quickly to recommendations identified through the IPCC investigation process. It added that one officer had had a written warning and another had received formal words of advice, but no actions taken by the force could have prevented the death.

An inquest, which ended in July this year, found Mr Walsh died from cardiac arrest resulting from conditions associated with chronic alcoholism, the police complaints body said.

It said Mr Walsh was arrested at about 1730 BST on 1 May 2008 on suspicion of theft of a bottle of alcohol and taken to custody at the Warwickshire Justice Centre. He was detained in custody overnight, collapsed at just after 0800 BST the following morning and was pronounced dead at hospital, it added.

The IPCC said custody records were not kept adequately updated with all the necessary information, including Mr Walsh suffering from panic attacks, alcohol withdrawal and depression.

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