Nuno Cardoso inquest: 'Concern' over student who died in custody

Nuno Cardoso Image copyright Nuno Cardoso
Image caption Nuno Cardoso's friends were concerned about his "psychological state" before his arrest

Friends of an Oxford law student who died after being arrested were worried about his state of mind at the time, an inquest has heard.

Nuno Cardoso, 25, from Kentish Town in north London, was arrested at Ruskin College in Oxford on 24 November 2017.

Oxford Coroner's Court heard he attacked students after a row and made threats while holding a kitchen knife.

In a statement, student Manisha Dass said: "I was concerned about his psychological state."

She said Mr Cardoso could get "very on edge" and "worked up quickly" after drinking.

His friend Charmaine Mahamba said Mr Cardoso was becoming "more withdrawn" and spending more time in London.

She said he spoke about his mental health and how he thought his relationship with his "on and off girlfriend" was affecting it.

The inquest previously heard he was struck with a police baton and later became "unresponsive" in a van on the way to a police station.

He died later in hospital and a post-mortem concluded the cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest due to combined intoxication from alcohol, cocaine and morphine.

Image copyright Nuno Cardoso
Image caption Mr Cardoso was studying law at Ruskin College in Oxford

The inquest heard following the alleged assaults Taser and dog units were sent to the scene, but Mr Cardoso had left the premises to go to the shops in Headington with Ms Mahamba and Ms Dass.

Ms Mahamba said: "I didn't think it was safe for Nuno to be out because I thought the police would be after him."

She said a police car approached them near a bus stop and officers questioned Mr Cardoso.

"Nuno seemed fine with this and allowed the officers to search him," she told the hearing.

Ms Mahamba said a small bag of "weed" was confiscated by officers, but described Mr Cardoso as being in a "laughing and joking mood".

Another student, Robyn Ellis, said she spoke to him in a halls of residence kitchen after he returned to the college.

She said Mr Cardoso was talking slower than usual but "wasn't getting angry or aggressive" and "didn't seem intoxicated".

She added: "As soon as the physical contact was made [by an arriving police officer] there was panic and he made a scuffle but still not making a run for it."

'Staring intensely'

The inquest also heard evidence from a police officer who accompanied Mr Carduso in the back of a police van after his arrest.

PC Charles Smith described the student as silently "staring very, very intensely" before he "slumped" in the van.

He said he had "no suspicion" that Mr Carduso had anything in his mouth and he would have taken him to hospital to be assessed if he had.

"I can't tell you how many times I've been up to hospital with people who've feigned illness as a precaution," he added.

PC Kate Young, who was later called to help when Mr Carduso became unresponsive, said she initially thought he was "playing [up] based on my previous experience of other detained people".

The inquest continues.

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