Northern Ireland

Belfast: Man dies after 'violent incident' on Great Victoria Street

Police at the scene near the Grand Opera House in Belfast on Thursday Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Police at the scene near the Grand Opera House in Belfast on Thursday

A man taken to hospital after a "violent" incident in Belfast has died, the Police Ombudsman's Office has confirmed.

It happened on Great Victoria Street in the early hours of Thursday.

The Police Ombudsman's Office has said it appears CS spray was used during the incident.

Officers said they were called to Great Victoria Street shortly before 05:00 BST, after a report that a man had become violent.

Witnesses said the man was dressed only in his underwear and had been behaving erratically.

PSNI Ch Supt Chris Noble said that police will "fully cooperate with the Police Ombudsman's inquiry".

"Police wish to pass on our condolences to the family of the deceased," he added.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Inquiries in relation to the incident are continuing

Paul Murphy, senior investigating officer with the Police Ombudsman's Office, said they were contacted about the incident by police at about 06:20 BST.

"That incident related to a male who had apparently had an altercation with a number of taxi drivers," he said.

"Police had responded and arrested that male.

"At some point during the arrest it appeared that CS spray was used.

"The male in question, his condition had deteriorated, he was then subsequently taken to hospital."

Image caption Part of Great Victoria Street was cordoned off close to the Grand Opera House and Europa Bus Centre

He said "restraints" had also been used by police during the arrest.

Mr Murphy said a number of witnesses had come forward and some CCTV footage had been collected. However, he appealed for anyone else who may have been at the scene to contact the ombudsman's office.

"This is now a Police Ombudsman investigation, so the Police Ombudsman's Office will now take primacy and we'll conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the arrest and also the condition of the male in question," he added.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The man was taken to hospital in a serious condition but later died

A defibrillator was left at the scene beside the Grand Opera House.