Ex-teacher died after be­ing re­strained out­side po­lice cell

Carmarthen Journal - - News -

A FOR­MER school­teacher died after be­ing re­strained by po­lice of­fi­cers fol­low­ing a sus­pected men­tal health episode, an in­quest has heard.

Meirion James, 53, be­came un­re­spon­sive after of­fi­cers from DyfedPowys Po­lice re­strained him and used PAVA spray when he tried to at­tack them out­side his cell.

The in­quest heard Mr James was ar­rested for as­sault­ing his el­derly mother hours after he had been re­leased from po­lice de­ten­tion un­der the men­tal health act fol­low­ing his in­volve­ment in a car crash.

The in­quest at County Hall, Haver­ford­west, heard Mr James had pre­vi­ously been a school teacher but was not work­ing at the time of his death after be­ing di­ag­nosed with manic de­pres­sion.

His fam­ily said he had been “stable” since the mid 1990s be­fore a de­ci­sion was made to take him off his usual lithium med­i­ca­tion and pre­scribe him an al­ter­na­tive drug in the au­tumn be­fore his death on Jan­uary 31 2015.

On Jan­uary 30 Mr James was in­volved in a col­li­sion when he drove into the back of a sta­tion­ary car.

PC Mike Boyt said he ar­rived at the scene of the col­li­sion in Llan­rhys­tud to find Mr James ly­ing on the floor fol­low­ing a phys­i­cal strug­gle with the oc­cu­pant of the sta­tion­ary car, and wit­nessed Mr James “mak­ing ran­dom noises”.

Mr James was ar­rested and placed in a cell at Haver­ford­west Po­lice Sta­tion. At 10.15am an of­fi­cer en­tered the cell only for Mr James to shoul­der charge him.

Mr Ben­nett said: “Other of­fi­cers tried to re­strain him. Dur­ing the course of the re­straint at­tempts were made for arm and leg re­straints.”

But Mr James be­came un­re­spon­sive with of­fi­cers un­able to find a pulse.

He was given CPR but was pro­nounced dead at hos­pi­tal at 11.27am.

As­sis­tant coro­ner Paul Ben­nett told the in­quest’s eight jury mem­bers they would have to con­sider 14 as­pects which pre­ceded Mr James’ death be­fore reach­ing their con­clu­sion.

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