CCTV shows moment father who died was restrained by Pontins security staff
- Credit: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY
Previously unseen CCTV captures the moment a father-of-three, who died after being restrained at Pontins, was tackled to the floor by security staff amid a row with fellow guests.
On Tuesday an inquest jury described the restraint of Paul Reynolds, from Colchester, by the neck as a "deliberate and unlawful act" which contributed to his death on February 16, 2017.
The hearing at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich was told the 38-year-old died two days after being arrested at Pontins Pakefield in February 2017.
In CCTV footage shown to the jury and shared with this newspaper, Mr Reynolds is pictured in the park's ballroom on Valentine's Day evening as the incident unfolds.
The clip shows Mr Reynolds manning a pushchair in a grey hooded top and his partner Carrie Bennett also dressed in a similar light grey hoodie.
Ms Bennett can be seen approaching fellow guests towards the beginning of the video.
She told the inquest that a child had been hitting their son - and she decided she was “going to say something” as they began to leave the ballroom.
She said Mr Reynolds told her to “leave it”, but she did speak to the guest.
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“I said ‘can you do me a favour and have a word with your brat kid? She keeps coming over and smacking my boy’,” said Ms Bennett.
It all "escalated from there", she added.
In the CCTV security officers can be seen restraining Mr Reynolds while Ms Bennett is removed from the communal area.
Inquest evidence from security guards and police officers established that Mr Reynolds had been restrained face down on the floor for around 11 minutes by Pontins staff.
Security worker Timothy Cator-Durrant told area coroner Jacqueline Devonish he restrained the 38-year-old as he was "throwing punches".
But he said the method of restraint, known in the industry as a 'worst-case scenario', was "not planned".
Facing a suggestion that the CCTV appeared to show him "swinging his arm towards (Mr Reynolds' neck)", he disagreed and told the coroner: "At no time did I put my arm around his neck."
When police arrived, Mr Reynolds was arrested on suspicion of assault and moved to a marked van. He had to be carried, as he could not stand up.
When shown CCTV of the initial restraint, now ex-Suffolk police officer Katie Picken began to cry during her evidence.
She said it "looked like he (Mr Reynolds) was being restrained by the neck".
The jury found Mr Reynolds had not been physically violent and the restraint was "dangerous, excessive and inappropriate".
On route to Great Yarmouth custody, police officers spotted Mr Reynolds was not breathing properly and began CPR at the side of a busy road.
Despite the resuscitation attempts, he was rushed to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston in a critical condition.
The jury found that had the 38-year-old not been restrained by the neck and held in 'prone' (face down) position, he would have lived.
They also ruled that had Suffolk police officers or Pontins staff recognised he was unresponsive and called an ambulance, he would have survived.
Mr Reynolds died in hospital on February 16, 2017, leaving behind his parents, Ms Bennett and the couple's three children.
February 14, 2017 - Paul Reynolds restrained by Pontins security and arrested
February 16, 2017 - Mr Reynolds dies at James Paget Hospital, aged 38
March 2017 - Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation launches
July 2018 - IOPC passes file to Suffolk police in relation to potential disciplinary proceedings for officers involved
November 2018 – Criminal charges of gross negligence manslaughter considered against three police officers and five security staff after IOPC probe
August 2019 – CPS announces no manslaughter charges to be brought against any of the eight people involved
February 2020 – Paul Reynolds’ family lodges an appeal against CPS decision
June 2020 – Inquest delayed by ongoing CPS appeal
March 2021 – Family’s appeal fails
April 2021 – Inquest opens
May 2021 – Jury finds restraint used to detain Mr Reynolds was a “dangerous, excessive, deliberate and unlawful act” which contributed to his death