‘Police used baton’ on sick man who died after being CS gassed

By Claire Carter Health Correspondent

A SERIOUSLY-ILL patient who died after being CS gassed and restrained may have also been struck with a baton by police, an inquest was told.

Healthcare assistant Jonathan Hill told a jury at Nottingham Coroners’ Court that he saw three or four police officers drag Victor Massey into the corridor after CS gas had been used.

Mr Hill, who was working at King’s Mill Hospital at the time, said he also heard the officers say they needed back-up and shields.

Police had been called to ward seven at the hospital, in Sutton-in-Ashfield, by security staff after they were unable to get father-of-three Mr Massey out of a shower room, where he had locked himself in.

Mr Massey, of Palmerston Street, Westwood, had been admitted on August 2, 2006, with pancreatitis with complications and was in great pain. The inquest had previously heard that 20-30 per cent of sufferers were likely to die of the condition.

While he was at hospital, his wife of more than 30 years, Jane, continually raised with staff her concerns about him hallucinating, which she put down to the painkillers he was on, including tramadol and morphine. But she said nothing was done or recorded in his notes.

On August 7, he ran from his bed to a shower room, where he locked himself in. Hospital staff said he kept shouting “help, get the police” and they heard smashing, later found to involve a mirror.

Ward staff and security were unable to coax him out and security asked for the police, who used CS gas and restrained him. Mr Massey died shortly afterwards in the early hours of August 8.

Mr Hill said that when police arrived on the ward, they managed to open the door slightly – which by now had been unlocked – and show Mr Massey their ID cards in a bid to calm him down but this did not work.

Mr Hill went to check on other patients and when he returned, he saw CS gas being sprayed into the shower room.

He went to find fans to ventilate the corridor and when he got back, he could see Mr Massey’s hand reaching round the shower room door “as if he was trying to pull himself up”.

“I then saw a police baton out by one of the officers and I do believe, although I didn’t see, that Mr Massey was struck with the police baton.”

He said Mr Massey was then dragged out of the room by three or four officers and sat against the wall in handcuffs.

He heard the officers say Mr Massey had glass in his hand, though he never saw this.

Mr Hill added: “He couldn’t hold his position.”

He then noticed that Mr Massey had handcuffs on with his arms were behind his back.

“He kept falling from one side to the other down the wall. I also noticed as he slid down the walk there was a streak of blood from the back of his head.”

A post-mortem examination found the cause of death was a cardiac arrest following restraint, combined with acute pancreatitis and tramadol administration.

This Is Nottingham

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