originally published by: The BBC
3rd March 2010
Inadequate training and communication between officers led to them failing to recognise the condition of a cocaine addict who died in police custody.
Paul Coker died at Plumstead police station hours after he was arrested for breaching the peace at his girlfriend’s home in August 2005, an inquest heard. He told officers “I can’t breathe, you’re killing me”, during the arrest.
The inquest jury at Southwark Coroner’s Court found officers did not recognise the “symptoms of excited delirium.”Two hours after his arrest at Lucy Chadwick’s house in south-east London, Mr Coker, 32, became unwell and collapsed after being transported to cells, the inquest heard. Selena Lynch, the assistant deputy coroner, told jurors that a pathologist’s report gave the cause of death as cocaine intoxication.
Mr Coker had been battling depression and substance abuse and had been sentenced for burglary. But days before his death he had secured a new job and was about to move into a flat, the court heard.