Birmingham & Black Country

Sharmila Ullah cell death: IPCC rules detention officer lied about checks

Bloxwich police station Image copyright Google
Image caption Sharmila Ullah, 30, died in hospital in July 2014

A detention officer lied about checking on a woman in a cell who later died, a police watchdog has found.

Sharmila Ullah, 30, died in hospital in 2014 after she was held at Bloxwich police station in the West Midlands.

The coroner at her inquest ruled her death was most likely due to alcoholism and the effects of withdrawal.

But the unnamed member of police staff has since been sacked for gross misconduct for failing to conduct cell visits which had been documented.

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The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said he made simultaneous system entries confirming checks on Ms Ullah and other detainees when in fact he had not made any of the required visits.

"He was dismissed by West Midlands Police at a disciplinary hearing and steps are being taken by the force to prevent any further misuse of the recording function," the watchdog said.

'Accept findings'

Ms Ullah was taken to Walsall Manor Hospital from the Bloxwich custody suite when she became unwell after her arrest on 9 July 2014.

The next morning she was taken back to the police station where a doctor certified her as fit to be detained.

However, she was found unresponsive in her cell at about midday and was confirmed dead at hospital.

IPCC commissioner Derrick Campbell said: "Our thoughts are with Ms Ullah's family at this sad time for them.

"We carried out a thorough investigation as is right when someone dies in such circumstances.

"We have taken the family through our findings and hope they can take some comfort from the fact that the force has taken measures to address the issues identified."

Ch Insp Brian Carmichael from West Midlands Police Professional Standards Department said the force accepted the findings.

"The IPCC investigation identified areas for improvement in relation to detainee welfare which have since been implemented," he said.

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