Permission to enter flat for welfare check not passed to police, inquest hears

The inquest continues at Suffolk Coroners' Court at Beacon House in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

The inquest continues at Suffolk Coroners' Court at Beacon House in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Police officers attending a welfare check on a man later found dead at his ex-partner’s flat in Bury St Edmunds had not been passed on her permission to force entry into her home.

On the third day of an inquest into the death of father-of-two Mark Harris, 24, the jury heard a police officer and a PCSO visited the address, at College Mews, at around 2.20pm on January 11, 2016 - approximately 40 minutes after his ex-partner Laura Manning had called 999 warning he had threatened to kill himself.

The inquest heard the incident’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD), which gives details of an incident to officers attending a scene, did not contain information Miss Manning had given the ambulance service granting permission to enter the flat.

PCSO Helen Morgan told the inquest that when she attended the scene, with PC David Ellis, a neighbour said they had heard ‘banging noises’ in the flat around half an hour before.

On the first day of the inquest, on Monday, the jury had heard how the ambulance call-taker had not asked for Miss Manning’s name or telephone number, which could have been used by officers to verify they had permission to enter the flat.

When asked by Ruth Brander, a barrister working on behalf of Mr Harris’ family, whether this information would have been useful in making a decision to force entry, PCSO Morgan replied “most definitely”.

The jury heard on Monday that entry was eventually gained to the property at around 5.20pm, where Mr Harris was found hanged. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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The jury had also heard how the ambulance call-taker had passed on the surname “Hais” rather than “Harris” to police.

Giving evidence yesterday, Dean Loube, a contact control room trainer and coordinator with Suffolk police, said the more information officers have on scene, the easier it is for them to make a decision on forced entry.

When asked by Mrs Brander whether there should be rules on what information should be gathered and passed on by an ambulance call-taker he replied: “It would be wonderful - that we are all working from the same song sheet.”

He also agreed that knowing his ex-partner had given permission to force entry to the flat would also have show the seriousness of concern for Mr Harris’ welfare.

The inquest continues.

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