THE jury at an inquest into the death of Paul Davies, who died after attempting to conceal a bag of amphetamines in his mouth whilst the police searched his house, has returned a verdict finding that lack of proper police briefing and training contributed to his death.

On 28 September 2006, South Wales police officers executed a search of Davies’ home in response to an incident that occurred two days earlier, on the 26th September 2006. Whilst under the watch of an officer, Davies placed a small plastic bag of amphetamines in his mouth.

Police officers subsequently attempted to remove the bag from Davies’ mouth, and it became lodged in his airway. Despite CPR and the eventual removal of the blockage at Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, Davies never regained consciousness.

At the inquest the jury was highly critical of the police officers involved and their lack of training, which would have enabled them to handle the situation efficiently. In particular, the jury suggested that, “There was a lack of training provided to officers for the forced search of the mouth of a detained person in a non-custodial setting” and “the control and restraint of a detained person in circumstances where an item is seen to be placed in the mouth.”

The jury concluded that Paul Davies’ death was contributed to by police neglect. In response, the coroner indicated that he intends to issue a rule 43 report dealing with training for officers in circumstances where a person places an item in their mouth and first aid training for choking situations.

Farleys Solicitors’ Gemma Vine, who represented the Davies family and instructed barrister Sean Horstead of Garden Court Chambers during the case, said: “The family are extremely happy with the verdict and are relieved that they can now move forward as they now have justice for Paul.”

Both Gemma Vine and Sean Horstead are members of the INQUEST Lawyers Group, the co-director of which, Deborah Coles, had this to say following the verdict: “This is not the first time a coroner and jury have commented on the inadequacy of police training following deaths in similar circumstances.”

“It is vital that the issues raised in this case are considered at both a local and national level to ensure others do not die in similarly avoidable circumstances.”

If you need legal advice following mistreatment by the police, have been or are about to be charged with an offence or just need advice on your position, then contact an expert now at Farleys Solicitors on 0845 050 1958 or you can e-mail us.