Birmingham & Black Country

Probe by police watchdog after body find

The police watchdog is investigating the West Midlands force's contact with a man who was later found dead.

Police searched and did a computer check on Nigel Ricketts on a bridge in Stechford, Birmingham, last month, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said.

Mr Ricketts was later pronounced dead nearby, in the early hours of 21 April, said the IPCC.

West Midlands Police said it would cooperate fully with the investigation.

Bus stop

The IPCC said there "appears to have been only brief and limited police contact with Mr Ricketts earlier in the morning".

Two police officers came across Mr Ricketts standing on a railway bridge at Station Road at about 0100 BST, the complaints body said.

It added they carried out a search and conducted a Police National Computer check. Within five minutes the officers left to attend a report of a road incident.

About an hour later a member of the public called police to inform them a man was asleep, believed to be drunk, at a bus stop in Station Road and he could not be woken.

Straight away

Based on the information, police believed it may be the same man they had met earlier, Mr Ricketts.

A police officer "undertook to check on the man when next passing the location", the IPCC said.

At just after 0500 BST police received a call from the ambulance service informing them a man had been pronounced dead at the corner of Station Road and Manor Road.

The man was identified as Nigel Ricketts.

West Midlands Police referred the death to the IPCC straight away, the complaints body said.

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "Our investigation will focus on why the police did not carry out a check on him at the bus stop prior to 5am, and whether, had they done so, the outcome is likely to have changed in any way."

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: "[The force] immediately referred this matter to the IPCC under the protocol relating to such incidents.

"The force will cooperate fully with the independent investigation by the IPCC."

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