Kent

Police criticised over Ramsgate flat death

Police who went to a Ramsgate man's flat the night before he was found dead on his sofa have been criticised.

Christian Koopmann made a series of 999 calls on 5 January 2008, the day before he was found dead.

In one of the calls, the 31-year-old threatened to "top himself". An inquest later said he died of natural causes.

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission said officers carried out a welfare check but failed to note all the relevant information.

'Assumed drunk'

Officers went to the flat and found him to be apparently drunk. During the visit, Mr Koopman was abusive to the police before he fell asleep on his sofa. The officers left but arranged a welfare check to take place later.

Police visited the flat later to carry out the welfare check. They found him lying on his back, snoring, and decided to let him sleep off what they assumed was too much alcohol.

Two people from the mental health team who were also there by coincidence advised police he suffered from paranoia and could become aggressive if he found them in his flat when he woke.

The next day, the mental health team visited him and found him dead.

NHS inquiry

The report said the first officers to visit showed a professional approach and good practice.

But the officers who carried out the welfare check did not advise the mental health team of his threats to "top himself", assumed he had been drinking, did not check the flat for dangerous substances, did not check to see how drunk he was and did not place him in the recovery position.

Those officers have received official words of advice, and the acting sergeant who was on duty has been given a written warning.

An inquiry is also under way by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust into the actions of the mental health team.

An inquest at Sandwich Coroner's Court returned a verdict which said Mr Koopmann died from obesity resulting in heart disease leading to death by natural causes.

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