Lessons learned following cell death

LESSONS have been learned by Suffolk Constabulary following the death of a man being held in police custody, an inquest was told today.

Anthony Bond

LESSONS have been learned by Suffolk Constabulary following the death of a man being held in police custody, an inquest was told today.

At the end of an inquest into the death of father-of-two Ian Snelling, 51, Greater Suffolk coroner Dr Peter Dean said Suffolk police had recognised and addressed the issues raised during the inquest.

Mr Snelling, of Manwick Road, Felixstowe, died in custody at the town's police station on September 1, 2006, after taking an overdose of up to 100 paracetamol tablets along with other drugs shortly before being arrested.


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Officers who arrested him incorrectly assumed he was drunk and put him behind bars at around 11.30am without having asked him key questions about his condition.

Police caring for Mr Snelling while he was in a cell admitted this week they had “fallen short of the standards required”.

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At the end of the inquest Dr Dean said: “It is very clear that a lot of things have been highlighted during the course of the inquest, it is also clear that the constabulary and individual officers and the organisation itself have recognised the important issues that have come out of Ian's death in these sad circumstances.

“It was very clear from what we have been told that there has been a route and branch reform of custody procedures and training and of the monitoring of officers performing what is clearly a very difficult task of very vulnerable people. I think the lessons of Ian's sad death have clearly been recognised and addressed from that point of view.”

At the end of the inquest jurors reached a narrative verdict, which read: “Ian Snelling died from the combined effects of paracetamol and propranolol toxicity at Felixstowe police station on September 1 2006 having deliberately taken an overdose. Whether he intended the outcome of his actions could not be determined from the circumstances due to his unbalanced mental state.”

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