De­tained man died in chains

Pen­sioner await­ing de­por­ta­tion cuffed to of­fi­cer

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Steve Bax steve.bax@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AN IN­QUEST jury found there was a lack of ‘uni­fied pro­ce­dures and train­ing’ at an im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion cen­tre where an el­derly Alzheimer’s suf­ferer died in chains.

Cana­dian Alois Dvorzac, 84, had been de­tained while try­ing to travel back to Slove­nia, a coun­try he had left decades be­fore, to search for his long-lost daugh­ter.

But the re­tired elec­tri­cal engi­neer was re­fused en­try into the UK on Jan­uary 23, 2013, and taken to a pri­vately run de­ten­tion cen­tre in Har­mondsworth to await de­por­ta­tion.

Dur­ing his time there he be­come ag­i­tated and com­plained of chest pains.

Paramedics were called to trans­port him to Hilling­don Hospi­tal on Fe­bru­ary 8 that year where he died two days later.

Last Thurs­day (Oc­to­ber 29) a jury at West Lon­don Coro­ner’s Court unan­i­mously con­cluded: “Mr Dvorzac was suf­fer­ing from acute coro­nary heart dis­ease, Type 2 Di­a­betes and had bor­der­line men­tal ca­pac­ity.

“He re­fused most med­i­ca­tion, treat­ment and sus­te­nance af­ter be­ing de­clared un­fit for de­ten­tion on Jan­uary 30, 2013.

“There was a lack of uni­fied pro­ce­dures, train­ing and ac­cess to rel­e­vant data records in deal­ing with a per­son of this age and ca­pac­ity.”

The jury con­cluded, at the end of the nine day in­quest, that the pen­sioner died from nat­u­ral causes.

Para­medic Ri­cardo Am­brosino who treated Mr Dvorzac told Coro­ner Chinyere Inyama and the jury it had been ‘Home Of­fice pol­icy’ to keep the man chained to an of­fi­cer de­spite his age and con­di­tion.

He said: “In my ex­pe­ri­ence this was the first time I had seen hand­cuffs in this man­ner, of a chain con­nect­ing him to one of the of­fi­cers.

“It was con­cern­ing be­cause it was un­nec­es­sary as he was a frail per­son who could barely walk and didn’t need it.

“When we got to the hospi­tal and hav­ing taken him in­side, when we got to hand­ing over to the nurses in A&E they were say­ing ‘why? why? why is he chained?’, they were shocked and I had to ex­plain that I was told it was Home Of­fice pro­ce­dure.”

Mr Dvorzac was de­clared un­fit for de­por­ta­tion or de­ten­tion af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s by Bri­tish doc­tors.

But he was held for a fur­ther two weeks at Har­mondsworth im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion cen­tre be­fore he was trans­ferred to hospi­tal.

He was read­mit­ted two days later with chronic chest pains and died a few hours later.

An ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that the frail old man spent his last five hours in hand­cuffs.

Home Of­fice head of de­ten­tion ser­vices Karen Ab­del-Hady, told the court: “In 2014, af­ter the death of Mr Dvorzac, we in­tro­duced new de­ten­tion pol­icy. Pre­vi­ous to that re­straints were used on a risk preven­tion ba­sis, now the pre­sump­tion is that re­straints should not be used un­less the risk as­sess­ment of that per­son says re­straints should be used.”

n FRAIL: Alois Dvorzac and wife Dana

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