'Dangerous' neck restraint led to death of Pontins guest, inquest finds
- Credit: Archant/Supplied by family
An inquest has found a father-of-three would have survived if he had not been restrained in a "dangerous" manner at Pontins Pakefield.
Colchester man Paul Reynolds, 38, was restrained by security staff after being involved in an altercation with another guest at the holiday park, near Lowestoft, on Valentine's Day 2017.
Mr Reynolds, who had been on holiday at the resort with his partner Carrie Bennett and their three sons, was subsequently arrested by police.
However, on the journey to the police station, Mr Reynolds' condition worsened and an ambulance was called at the roadside.
He was transported to James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, but he died two days later.
An inquest was opened into Mr Reynolds' death at Suffolk Coroners' Court on April 19 and a total of 37 witnesses gave evidence over 11 days before a jury.
Timothy Cator-Durrant, a service support officer at the site, had previously told the inquest that he did not place his arm around Mr Reynolds' neck as he restrained him following the altercation.
Another member of staff, Mark Rose, defended his colleague's actions as "reasonable" given the circumstances.
However, other witnesses giving evidence at the inquest, including police officers and use-of-force experts, disagreed after reviewing CCTV footage of the incident.
One officer, Pc Richard Warne, described seeing Mr Reynolds in a prone position with a knee in his back upon arrival at the resort's ballroom.
Eric Baskind, a physical restraint consultant, told the hearing that it was "inexplicable" that the guest was restrained on the floor for around 10 minutes before officers arrived.
Home Office pathologist Dr Benjamin Swift conducted a post-mortem examination of Mr Reynolds' body and said he found bruising on his neck, back and shoulder.
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Dr Swift said there was "no evidence of natural disease" that could have caused Mr Reynolds' death.
A toxicology report found that he had 134mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood.
The 10-person jury retired to consider its ruling on Monday and reached a unanimous verdict the following day.
The jury ruled the cause of death as complications arising from restraint of an intoxicated, obese individual in a prone position with compression of the neck and possible obstruction of the upper airway.
Area coroner Jacqueline Devonish was told by the jury that the actions of the Pontins staff were "dangerous" and "unlawful" and did not comply with Security Industry Authority guidelines or Pontins policy.
The jury found that Mr Reynolds would have lived if he had not been restrained by the neck in a prone position and said an ambulance should have been called earlier.
Ms Devonish confirmed both Pontins and Suffolk police would be sent regulation 28 notices for the prevention of future deaths, with responses due back by July 9.
She said: "I'm not satisfied that, without a report, future deaths will not be prevented."
Ms Devonish also paid tribute to Mr Reynolds' family for their part in the inquest, saying they had been "gallant and resilient" in their pursuit of the truth.