A Solicitor from Farleys’ Inquest department was featured in a documentary on police restraint this week. The File on 4 programme, which aired on 31st January, highlights the issues surrounding police restraint, including concerns about the increasing use of ‘Excited Delirium’ in inquest verdicts, and the way the IPCC reports statistics on restraint-related deaths in police custody.
The controversy surrounding Excited Delirium stems from the fact that despite the condition not being recognised as an official disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Excited Delirium is becoming more widely used as a cause of death in verdicts at Inquests. In the UK, there have been 17 cases in which the disorder has been cited in Coroner’s Courts.
During the documentary, Gemma Vine, inquest solicitor at Farleys, commented on the death of Nadeem (Dean) Khan, one of the cases in which Excited Delirium has been cited, and in which Farleys represented the family at the inquest. Nadeem Khan died in 2007 after being restrained and arrested by police in Burnley. Whilst he was in police custody in Burnley Police Station, officers further restrained Mr Khan, after which his heart stopped. The initial post mortem report identified that Dean had died from Excited Delirium as a consequence of taking cocaine, ruling out restraint as being a contributory factor to his death, despite there being several bruises, cuts and wounds on Dean’s body as a result of the restraint used by officers.
On the issue of Excited Delirium, Gemma commented:
“This is the first case in which we’ve come across excited delirium. If it is a condition that people are starting to recognise, the Forces need to be aware of the symptoms people display so that they can treat them as a medical emergency to ensure there are no more deaths as a result of it”.
Following further medical evidence heard during the inquest, the verdict concluded that Mr Khan’s death was the result of the combination of excited delirium and the ‘necessary’ restraint that was used by police officers.
The narrative verdict further went on to state, however, the Police officers involved failed to identify the symptoms of Excited Delirium, and as such, the necessary medical attention was not sought.
To find out more about the issues raised, the documentary can be heard here.
To speak to an inquest solicitor about obtaining support and representation at an inquest, please do not hesitate to contact us.