Bury St Edmunds Miconduct proceedings were brought against officers after man died following time in custody, inquest hears

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean.

Suffolk coroner Peter Dean. - Credit: Archant

An officer who was involved in checking on a detainee - who died following his time in custody - would have been dismissed if he had not resigned, an inquest has heard.

Robert Edwards, of 55, of Culford Road, Bury St Edmunds, died at West Suffolk Hospital on May 25, 2011, days after he became unconscious in his cell at Bury St Edmunds police station following his arrest on May 20, 2011.

Yesterday, as the inquest into his death continued, people heard misconduct proceedings were brought against several officers who were alleged to have breached the standards of professional behaviour in carrying out their duties on May 20.

Adam Stacey, deputy senior investigator with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), said Detention Officer Barry Brackenborough, who denied misconduct, resigned before misconduct proceedings were brought against him.

But the proceedings went ahead in his absence and the case against him was found proven.

“The panel concluded that had Mr Brackenborough not resigned they would have dismissed him,” Mr Stacey said.

Pc Alison Huntley was given a written warning after a misconduct hearing panel found her behaviour had amounted to misconduct.

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No other officers were found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour.

On Monday the inquest heard Mr Edwards - who suffered from drug and alcohol problems - was arrested following reports he had assaulted his estranged wife, Susan Edwards.

He was in a drunken state on arrest, but he was deemed by healthcare practitioner Jillian Kell-Saunders to be fit to be in detention and he should be roused every 30 minutes.

A doctor was fetched at 1.06am after officers were unable to rouse him, and found his pulse was regular, his breathing was not rapid or slow and his eyes were unremarkable, but minutes later Mr Edwards’ pulse was unrecordable.

With the assistance of officers, paramedics provided emergency medical care until he regained a pulse and he was taken to hospital.

The inquest continues.

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