Mark Graeme Read

Police failed in their duty of care following death of intoxicated man

Compiled from various sources
published: 4WardEver UK – August 2011

News updates listed at the foot of this item

Mark Read, 39, known to his friends as Graeme, died in a cell at Bath Central police station in Manvers Street the night before Christmas Eve, after Avon and Somerset officers arrested him for being drunk and incapable. Officers claimed they had taken him into custody “for his own safety”. Officers later found him ‘unresponsive’ during a check and he was taken to the Royal United Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His father Brian Read, said he and his wife June had been left in the dark about the circumstances and were unable to bury their son as the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) had launched an investigation.

Mr and Mrs Read said they were in a state of limbo and waiting to be told what would happen next, as they were unable to obtain a death certificate. They went on to say: “Mark was a fantastic family man. He also has a 12-year-old son called Joe with a former partner.

IPCC Investigators announced that they would be looking through footage from Bath’s CCTV cameras to piece together the last hours of Mark’s life. The investigation team identified potential witnesses and were given tapes from the police station’s internal CCTV cameras.

They also sought to secure footage from council cameras in the city which may have recorded Mark’s movements in the two hours before his arrest. An IPCC spokesman said: “This will help build a complete picture for the investigation.”

An inquest hearing was launched in 2011. The hearing was told that Mr Read’s family felt officers had failed to properly take care of him.

The jury had heard how, crucially, Mr Read was left lying on his back to sleep off his night out, not on his side in the recovery position. During the inquest, police admitted detention officer Gary Hancock had not been given training on how to deal with intoxicated prisoners.

Supt Mike Prior said the force had now changed its policy; “The IPCC made eight recommendations as a result of its investigation and these have been implemented.

“We will now carefully study the narrative verdict returned the jury and will consider any issues that the jury have identified that we have not already addressed.

“Expert evidence heard during the inquest has described how extremely difficult it is to assess the medical needs of intoxicated people.”

Mr Read’s family said they intend to bring a civil action for damages against the police.

12-year-old son, Joe Read’s, tribute to his dad in full:

“I saw my dad just before he died. If I had known that it would be the last time that I was going to see him, I would have wrapped my arms around him and never let him go.

“I did tell him that I love him and he always told me that he loved me, I think about that every day.

“My dad always watched me play football for Melksham Town Youth and cheered when I scored a goal.

“The next goal that I score I will point to the sky so that he knows it’s just for him.

“My granddad told me that he will watch me now, my dad would love that, I’m sure that he will be watching too.

“We always played on games consoles together. For Christmas he had bought me presents and had written lines on all of the cards.

“One of the games was for the Wii and read ‘Happy Christmas dude – let’s play!’”

“I found them very difficult to read and open but will treasure them forever.

“I have started a memory box with the help of my Nan and granddad.

“I have chosen a Liverpool shirt because we both love Liverpool and some jewellery because we both like to look good.

“I wear my dad’s necklace all the time so that he feels close to me.

“I don’t know how my dad died but I know that I will always love and miss him. He was my great friend, we talked about everything together and laughed a lot.

“My great Nan said we had our own language of looks instead of words.

“It’s hard moving on and getting back to normal but I know that he would want me to do well at school and with my football.

“I have family friends around me that are helping me get through this.”


Follow-up News:

Avon and Somerset Police neglected cell death man
18 May 2011

Custody death father – son pays tribute
16 January 2009

Tributes to custody death father
30 December 2008

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