London

Darren Neville family loses Met restraint death case

Image copyright Carol Neville
Image caption Darren Neville suffered irreversible brain damage and died 54 days later being restrained by police

The family of a man who died two months after he was restrained during a mental health crisis has lost a High Court damages action against the Met Police.

Darren Neville, 28, had a heart attack during the altercation in March 2013.

The family had claimed he had been subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment.

Mr Neville, who had used cocaine, was restrained by six officers after he was seen in the street in his underwear with a green recycling bin on his head.

Image copyright Carol Neville
Image caption Darren Neville was restrained by six officers

On the night of the breakdown, Mr Neville cut himself when he used a fire extinguisher to smash through the glass door of a probation hostel and was "shouting and behaving bizarrely", the court was told.

In November, counsel Rajeev Thacker told Mr Justice Martin Spencer that experts were in broad agreement that the restraint and struggling contributed to the cardiac arrest which ultimately was the cause of death.

Mr Neville's parents, Carol and Philip, and his brother Louis, of Finsbury, north London, who brought the case under the European Convention on Human Rights, claimed that the police violated Mr Neville's right to life and subjected him to inhuman or degrading treatment.

Denying liability, the police case was that in the "agony of the moment" when the officers only had a very short time to assess the situation and react, in circumstances where Mr Neville was behaving violently, the actions of the officers were reasonable and appropriate.

Force 'absolutely necessary'

The judge said that the deprivation of life which occurred was not to be regarded as having been inflicted in contravention of Article 2 - which protects the right to life - because it resulted from the use of force which was no more than was absolutely necessary in defence of the police officers from Mr Neville's own unlawful violence.

Mr Neville was not held in the prone position for longer than was necessary for him to be brought under appropriate and safe control and it was reasonable, proportionate and appropriate that officers should seek to apply handcuffs and leg restraints, he added.

The judge expressed his condolences to the family for their loss and paid tribute to the dignity and restraint they had shown.

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