Left to die in a police cell
Compiled from various sources
submitted by: Fiona Kerr – January 2014
Updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
An inquest established that Craig Young, who collapsed in police custody and later died, was neglected.
Craig, a 39-year-old butcher from Stockport, suffered a cardiac arrest in a cell at Cheadle Heath police station in the early hours of 23 November 2010, where he had been left on the floor for several hours without being roused.
On 22 November 2010, at around 10.05pm, Craig was arrested on suspicion of a breach of the peace at his parent’s home after he arrived in a drunken state and refused to leave.
Craig was taken to Cheadle Heath Custody Suite, where he was placed in a CCTV-monitored cell and should have been subject to thorough checks from police officers every 30 minutes due to his level of intoxication. Tragically, at 3.47am on 23 November, Craig was found to be unresponsive and transferred to Stepping Hill Hospital.
By this time Craig had slipped into a coma and was placed in intensive care, where he remained for four months until he died from pneumonia, on 6 March 2011, with his father at his bedside.
A forensic expert who viewed CCTV footage from the cell told how it was a whole 5 minutes before anyone attempted to resuscitate Craig after he suffered a cardiac arrest. This neglect led to Craig suffering irreversible brain damage.
The inquest jury, which concluded on 3 May 2012, found that Craig died of natural causes contributed to by neglect.An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation found a string of failures by Greater Manchester police officers that led to Craig’s death.
The IPCC’s investigation established that the sergeant who received Craig when he was brought into custody failed to conduct a risk assessment, which was his duty. The sergeant also did not secure a medical assessment and decided that Craig did not require medical treatment, despite him having to have been carried into the custody suite.
The Safer Detention and Handling of Persons in Police Custody Guidance states that if a detainee is drunk and incapable they should be taken straight to hospital. The sergeant failed to brief the staff under his control about the risks posed to Craig in his state, in particular, the need to rouse him during the scheduled cell visits at 30-minute intervals as set out in custody guidelines.
A second sergeant, who did not receive Craig into custody, was found to have a case to answer for misconduct after failing to adequately manage and supervise the custody staff. The IPPC found that the majority of the cell visits fell outside the specified 30-minute intervals and some of the checks were only conducted through a spy-hole in the cell door. A Custody Detention Officer and Police Constable were found to have failed to protect Craig’s welfare by regularly and appropriately checked him. In fact, the Police Constable was found to have recorded that he made visits when the CCTV evidence shows that he did not.
Craig lay on the floor of his cell for more than five hours and there was a period of more than two hours in which Craig did not move and was not roused despite officers entering his cell.
The IPPC investigation stated that Sergeant Paul Fletcher, Sergeant Warren Brown and custody detention officer Andrew Mapstone would face disciplinary proceedings for misconduct in “due course”. The misconduct charges are being dealt with by Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) professional standard branch. GMP assistant chief constable Dawn Copley said: “We are determined to learn lessons from what happened to Mr. Young and I apologise to his family for failing to properly care for him. Since Mr. Young’s tragic death, there have been a huge number of changes in the way that the GMP manages custody.”
Craig’s dad, Neil Young, and step-mum, Janet Elliot, released a heartfelt statement after the inquest, saying: “We have lost a son through bad management, neglect and illness. We want the police officers kicked out of the force; they don’t deserve to wear the uniform. Our son may have been drunk when he went into the station but he still deserves to be treated in a humane way. The system has once again failed and if serious training is not put into practice it will happen again.”
Police sergeants on misconduct charge over death of Craig Young
21 January 2013