Inquest looks into death of High Wycombe man
all credits: Bucks Free Press
originally published: 6th January 2011
Updates on this case are listed at the foot of this item
A 31-year-old man who feared ‘people were after him’ died after consuming drugs, an inquest heard this week. Marcus Cottoy, of Hawthorne Road, Micklefield, died on March 22, 2009, hours after being arrested and sectioned in a mental health unit. The inquest into his death began in Winslow yesterday and is scheduled to last eight days. Mr Cottoy had become “paranoid” that people were following him on the previous night, the inquest heard.
At about midnight he pleaded with bar staff at the King George V pub on London Road to call the police, saying he had smashed a window with a pool ball and wanted to be arrested, the inquest heard.
Barmaid Jeanette Saunders said Mr Cottoy feared people were “after” him and complained he had not slept for three days. She said: “I asked him to leave and he said ‘come on I don’t want to smash the place up, but I will if I have to’. “I would say he was high as a kite, his eyes were popping out of his head. I thought he may have been taking drugs.”
The inquest heard he seemed “frightened of somebody” and kept saying he wanted to get arrested so he would be safe. When police officers arrived at the pub at about 12.15am, Mr Cottoy threatened to throw a bar stool through a window if he was not arrested, jurors were told.
Mr Cottoy, wearing a hooded jumper and combat trousers, would not tell them who was following him and was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence. It later emerged a window had been broken at the pub and he was arrested again on suspicion of criminal damage.
PC Christopher Hatton sat in the back of the car with Mr Cottoy as he was driven to Amersham police station and said he became “more and more paranoid” about being followed, telling him “I’m not one to grass, you know the score”.
Mr Cottoy then asked to be handcuffed and told the officers he had taken two ecstasy tablets, though he later told a medical team he had taken three or four grams of cocaine over the previous three days, the inquest heard.
The coroner heard that “certain packages” were later found in his body. The results of the post-mortem examination are set to be heard on Friday.
Through the night custody staff at Amersham made regular checks on Mr Cottoy, who was complaining that he needed to sleep before saying he wanted to be released, the inquest heard.
Officers said they had been concerned for Mr Cottoy’s mental, rather than physical health. They said he was searched and there was no suggestion of a risk that he may have swallowed or tried to hide drugs on himself, the inquest heard. Sergeant Richard Beard told jurors: “Almost definitely the substances were swallowed before the police came into contact with him.”
At about 11am on March 22 a team of mental health doctors saw Mr Cottoy and said he needed to go to the Tindal Centre, in Aylesbury for acute treatment. After arriving in Aylesbury, at the centre for treating mental illnesses, the inquest heard Mr Cottoy became “lifeless” and his blood pressure dropped.
He was then taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4.44pm. Mr Cottoy’s family were not present at the inquest but a statement from his father Evrod was read out.
Evrod Cottoy said Marcus had been at his house on March 20, two days before his death, and “kept saying he could see demons”. The next day Marcus told his father he had seen “an African man outside with a dog” who he thought had come to “burn” him, the inquest heard. The inquest continues.
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20 January 2011
Inquest into death of High Wycombe man Marcus Cottoy begins
6 January 2011
IPCC finishes investigation into death of Marcus Cottoy
9 February 2010