North West Wales

Watchdog rules police not at fault in Caernarfon death

A watchdog has ruled station officers could not have prevented a Gwynedd man's death following police custody.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission launched an inquiry after Haydn Pritchard, 61, died following arrest on 21 July 2009.

Mr Pritchard fell ill while in a Caernarfon police cell but later died of natural causes in hospital.

The IPCC found officers acted appropriately but some areas of policy had been breached.

A post-mortem examination earlier found Mr Pritchard died of natural causes, but the matter was referred to the IPCC, who carried out a managed investigation.

Mr Pritchard, from Llanberis, was arrested at his home in the early hours of Monday 20 July.

But at 11.25am that day, he became unwell and was taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor.

Doctors were unable to save him and he died the following day.

IPCC commissioner for Wales Tom Davies said: "The investigation found that the custody staff could not have prevented Mr Pritchard's death.

No chance of survival

"However, a number of issues were found with breaches of force custody policy and appropriate recommendations have been made to North Wales Police which have been put into effect and are being considered in a force-wide review of its custody policy."

He offered his condolences to Mr Pritchard's family and friends.

"This was a very thorough investigation carried out by a senior officer from North Wales Police and I commend the vigour with which he carried this out," he added.

The report referred to the view of the pathologist who carried out the post-mortem on Mr Pritchard.

It said that even if Mr Pritchard had been found immediately when he fell ill and suffered a haemorrhage, he had no chance of survival.

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