London

Drug teen suspect Henry Hicks stopped and searched 89 times by police

Wheelwright Street Image copyright Google
Image caption Henry Hicks died after he collided with another vehicle on Wheelwright Street in Islington, North London

A teenager who died while under police surveillance for drug dealing had been stopped and searched 89 times in three years, his inquest has heard.

Henry Hicks, 18, was being followed by two unmarked police cars in Islington, north London, on 19 December 2014 when his moped crashed into another vehicle.

His sister told the inquest that life without him was like "living in a world without colour".

Mr Hicks was found with 5.7g of cannabis on him.

In a statement to the inquest Mr Hicks' sister Claudia said: "I could fill a stadium with people whose lives had been made better by my brother."

Skunk cannabis

Mr Hicks was "our family's glue", and without him they had "fallen apart", his sister said.

"He was my sister's protector, her best friend and guidance. I think when he died a large part of my other brother died too. We feel completely broken and to say we miss him is an understatement," she added.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation revealed Mr Hicks had been stopped and searched on numerous occasions between October 2011 and December 2014.

Following the crash seven bags of skunk cannabis in a plastic bag were recovered by police evidence officer Det Sgt Arvinder Marwaha, who arrived at Wheelwright Street at around 23:00.

It was "highly unlikely" Mr Hicks was carrying the seven bags solely for personal use, Det Sgt Marwaha said, and the inquest separately heard that toxicology reports showed no drugs in his body.

Mobile phones were also recovered from the scene and nearly 100 texts with the phrase "banging lemon" were discovered on one of two phones Mr Hicks was carrying, the inquest at St Pancras Coroner's Court was told.

Asked by Neil Saunders, representing the four police officers following Mr Hicks, if this was a "well-known phrase for people who are dealing in drugs, Det Sgt Marwaha agreed adding it was particularly the case in reference to skunk.

Mr Hicks had previously been given a youth caution for possession of a small amount of cannabis, and at the time of the crash was on bail pending a trial for affray, the inquest heard.

The hearing continues.