Bristol

Police sorry after not attending suicide death

A police force has apologised after a 27-year-old man called emergency services after taking an overdose but police officers failed to attend.

Christofer Walker called 999 on 12 February 2009 after taking a lethal dose of heart medication.

An ambulance could not get a response after ringing a bell at his Weston-super-Mare flat and, because police did not attend, they could not force entry.

Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham they should have done more.

"We've apologised privately to Mr Walker's mother because we should have gone when somebody needed our help," he said.

Mr Walker's mother Carol Bagg said on the day he died his mobile phone had run out of credit so he could not call relatives.

'Crystal ball'

"We always said to him if you're really up against it, and you really want some help, always turn to the police. They will always help you."

In the 999 call, Mr Walker told the operator that he had "taken some pills" and police graded the call as requiring an immediate response.

But a police dispatcher downgraded the call to "resolution without deployment", meaning it was handed to the ambulance service.

When the paramedic arrived he did not have Mr Walker's number and had to get it from the police.

He eventually called Mr Walker - who had become very groggy - and he was taken to hospital more than an hour later.

The coroner at Mr Walker's inquest said the police's failure to attend - and the subsequent delay - had not had any impact on his chances of survival.

But Ms Bagg dismissed the report, saying the coroner appeared "to have a crystal ball".

See more about this story on Inside Out West on BBC One at 19:30 or on the iPlayer for the next seven days.

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