Unproven science used to ‘explain’ custody deaths

originally by: TBIJ  
published: 31st January 2012

A controversial unproven syndrome with roots in the US is being used in British coroners’ courts to explain why people die after police restraint. 

‘Excited delirium’ or ‘sudden-in-custody-death-syndrome’ is a niche diagnosis not yet recognised by the World Health Organisation or any international authority. A number of leading pathologists have expressed concern about the use of the term in inquests.

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Individuals in the throes of ‘excited delirium’ are described as aggressive, agitated, displaying bizarre behaviour, insensitive to pain and with superhuman strength until they collapse and die

But research by the Bureau has found that the ‘condition’ has been used by coroners to explain 10 restraint-related deaths that occurred in police custody in England and Wales since the late 1990s.

It has also been postulated by forensic pathologists and police defence lawyers in seven other cases.

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How many have died after police restraint? MP calls for inquiry
31st January 2012

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