Carl Maynard: Police death man had 'plastic bag in stomach'
A man who died in police custody had high levels of cocaine in his blood and a plastic bag in his stomach, an inquest heard.
Carl Maynard, 29, collapsed at a police station in Tonbridge, Kent, while being questioned on suspicion of domestic assault on 13 October 2017.
He died of acute cocaine toxicity, the inquest in Maidstone heard.
The "very high" cocaine concentration was far above recreational levels, a forensic pathologist said.
Dr Olaf Biedrzycki said, at 23 milligrams per litre, it was similar to what would be seen when somebody died after swallowing drug packages and a bag had been found in his stomach.
Dr Biedrzycki, who reviewed CCTV footage of the moment Mr Maynard collapsed, said: "He does seem to be relatively calm, then the clinical evidence suggests that there was a sudden release of drugs in his system."
Mr Maynard, a painter and decorator, was arrested after a neighbour reportedly saw him punch his partner, Christina Colegate.
Ms Colegate, who denied having been assaulted, told the inquest police had repeatedly asked Mr Maynard "what have you put in your mouth?" as they made the arrest at his home in Maidstone.
Mr Maynard "looked like he was gagging" as police held him against a wall, with his arm behind his back, she said.
"He was choking, and I was hysterically screaming [at them] to get off of him. The officers sounded concerned, they asked 'have you swallowed any gear, Carl? It sounds like your airway is obstructed'."
PC Richard McIver-Hall, who made the arrest, told the inquest Mr Maynard repeatedly denied having swallowed anything.
He said he told Mr Maynard: "I need an honest answer. Have you swallowed anything? If you have, I won't take you to custody, I will take you to hospital."
PC McIver-Hall said he felt "satisfied [Mr Maynard] had not swallowed anything" after a search of the house found no drugs of paraphernalia.
Mr Maynard was arrested at 15:00 and collapsed at 16:23, the court heard.
The inquest continues.