Philmore Mills

Cancer patient dies in handcuffs

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all credits: Justice for Paps Ullah
published: 26 January 2012

Updates on this case are listed at the foot of this item

Philmore Mills was admitted to the intensive care unit at Wexham Park Hospital on 21 December 2011, and moved on Christmas Eve to a respiratory ward. In the early hours of Tuesday 27 December, an incident occurred in which hospital security and then police were called. Mr Mills was handcuffed to the rear and restrained. He then became unresponsive. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards after failed resuscitation attempts.

The family of Philmore Mills are preparing to bury a much loved family member. They have instructed Hickman and Rose solicitors to act for them in relation to the necessary investigations and the inquest. A second post mortem examination has been commissioned at their request.

The family look to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Wexham Park Hospital to explain to them as soon as possible why and how their very frail father died. Those inquiries by the IPCC and HSE have now begun, though Wexham Park Hospital has not yet stated to the family whether it will investigate, and if so on what terms.

Rachel Gumbs, Mr Mills’ eldest daughter said: “We are determined to get justice for our father, which means getting to the truth. We will do this for the family and for the community because what happened to our father affects us all. We trust that all investigations will be full and fearless and that there will ultimately be transparency and accountability. The wait for answers is agonising “

Kate Maynard, the family’s solicitor said: “For any family to have to face the news that their loved one has died after restraint by the police is devastating, but for it to happen in a hospital setting is very hard for them to comprehend.

The delay in bereaved families getting information from the investigators breeds suspicion and mistrust. The family hopes that all investigations into how Mr Mills died will be truly robust and that they will get the answers that they need as soon as possible.”

In March 2014 The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) concluded that ‘there is insufficient evidence’ to charge either officer or any of the hospital staff with a criminal offence – ruling out a prosecution for unlawful act of manslaughter and gross negligence.

A statement from the CPS states Mr Mills was ‘in an extremely poor state of health’, suffering from severe lung and heart disease, and he ‘could have died at any time from these ailments’. It adds the pathologists ‘could not determine with certainty whether anything done by the officers had or had not contributed to the death’, but ‘the evidence did not suggest excessive force was used during the restraint’.

Mr Mills’ eldest daughter, Rachel Gumbs, said: “It’s just shocking. The investigation report says mistakes have been made, and there was negligence, but nothing criminal and untoward has happened.


Follow-up News:

Philmore Mills inquest: Jury returns narrative verdict
8 March 2016

Pathologist believes restraining was ‘more than a trivial contribution’ to his death
25 February 2016

Police officers cleared of misconduct
21 July 2015

Family hits out at decision not to charge officers following death of Philmore Mills
24 March 2014

No charges to be brought over Philmore Mills death
14 March 2014

Philmore Mills’ family win fight for independent investigation
27 Jul 2012

Cancer patient died in handcuffs after nurses called police
11 April 2012

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