North West Wales

Training call after Hywel Hughes' restraint death

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Media captionHywel Llewelyn Hughes died in police custody in May 2003

A coroner who investigated the death of a man in police custody after he was ejected from a nightclub has warned others could die unless police training improves.

Hywel Llewelyn Hughes, 32, died of traumatic asphyxia at hospital in Bangor in May 2003.

An inquest jury found police did not take appropriate action after he was restrained by bouncers.

Karon Monaghan QC said officers needed better "positional asphyxia" training.

An inquest investigating Mr Hughes' death last month heard he was removed from Bangor's Joop nightclub after an incident, and two doormen had sat on him for six minutes while they waited for police.

Two officers, Sgt Robert Hind and PC Emma Lovegreen, now Sgt Williams, put him in a police car and drove him to Caernarfon police station, stopping on the way to reposition him.

But when they arrived he had no heartbeat and he was taken to Ysbyty Gwynedd Hospital where he died.

The doormen at the nightclub were later cleared of manslaughter at a trial in 2005.

'Risk of death'

North Wales' assistant coroner Karon Monaghan QC who looked into his death, has written to North Wales Police's chief constable, Home Secretary Theresa May and the Security Industry Authority highlighting concerns following the hearing outcome.

In a report she said police should improve the training given to officers about "positional asphyxia".

She warned that the design of some police cars inhibited officers' ability to see and hear a detainee, and called for changes in security and door staff training.

Ms Monaghan also highlighted four restraint-related deaths involving door supervisors since the introduction of mandatory training in 2013, and pointed out that door supervisors do not need a first aid qualification to obtain a licence.

Ms Monaghan states in the report: "In my opinion there is a risk that further death will occur unless action is taken."

North Wales Police Deputy Chief Constable, Gareth Pritchard, said the force was considering the report's contents.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick said he would study the report to see what lessons could be learned and if any changes were needed.

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