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Darren death: ‘Officers escalated the situation’

Family of man restrained by police go to High Court

01 December, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Mum Carol and brother Louis with a photograph of Darren

THE family of a trainee plasterer who died after he was restrained by police while having a mental breakdown have begun a civil action against the Met.

Darren Neville, 28, suffered a cardiac arrest after he was held down by police outside the halfway house for ex-offenders in Highbury where he was living. He died two months later in hospital.

His family claims the police subjected Mr Neville to inhuman treatment.

The case is being heard at the High Court. The Met denies liability.

His mother Carol, who lives in Finsbury, told the Tribune her son was a “caring, positive young man who wanted to achieve so much”.

Police were called following reports of a disturbed man outside the home in Aberdeen Park on March 12, 2013.

Mr Neville was throwing himself into walls and through a window. He was covered in blood and had a recycling container on his head when police arrived.

The inquest in June, 2015, found that Mr Neville’s long-term cocaine use had led to increased strain on his heart, and had triggered an “acute behavioural disturbance” (ABD).

While the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which investigates deaths following police contact, concluded that officers acted lawfully and did not breach professional standards, the inquest jury ruled that the “prolonged restraint” contributed to Darren’s death.

Rajeev Thacker, who represented the family at the inquest, said officers should have recognised that Mr Neville might have been having an ABD and there was a real risk of death if he was restrained.

“The officers immediately ran into the situation, so escalating the situation. They might not have had to use restraint at all,” he told the High Court.

“In so far as restraint became necessary, the officers simply were not thinking and the response was to restrain more and more as Mr Neville struggled more and more.”

A spokeswoman for the Met said: “We are defend­ing the claim. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

The hearing continues.

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