source: Sunderland Echo
published: 30 January 2020
Dad-of-two Lenny McCourt died after falling ill following his arrest, having been sprayed with an incapacitant, handcuffed, and transported in the back of a police van from his home in Ash Crescent, Seaham, to cells in Peterlee.
An inquest into his death was told the 44-year-old most likely died after suffering heart failure, yet it took five minutes after arriving at Peterlee to remove his cuffs and efforts started to revive him – and Coroner Andrew Tweddle ruled officers failed to provide adequate first aid.
At that hearing, his sister-in-law Tracey McCourt represented the family, after they were told they were not entitled to any legal support in the wake of Lenny’s death in September 2010.
Since then, they have campaigned for better provision for families during the inquest and other legal processes.
Now Tracey, 54, and Lenny’s brother Gene, 57, have joined a panel discussion at a Ministry of Justice conference led by INQUEST, a charity which provides expertise on state-related deaths.
It also comes after Tracey worked with the family of Easington Lane man Stephen Berry, who died in police custody in 2013, after they were told they were not entitled to any legal support.