Highbury man suffered cardiac arrest in police restraints

Darren Neville

Darren Neville - Credit: Archant

Darren Neville died at the Whittington Hospital two months after altercation with officers, inquest hears

Police officers who handcuffed and bound the legs of a man who then suffered a cardiac arrest and later died in hospital had no choice but to restrain him, an inquest jury has heard.

Darren Neville, 28, was found running up and down Aberdeen Park in Highbury covered in his own blood with a recycling bin on his head just after 7am on March 12, 2013.

Mr Neville had been living in a hostel for ex-offenders in the same street, when an out-of-character episode saw him threaten to kill a staff member and smash his way through the front door.

His mother Carol Neville said her son, a trainee plasterer who was set to move into his own flat, was a “very positive, fun young man” who “wanted to achieve so much”.

The jury sworn in at St Pancras Coroner’s Court for the two week inquest which started on Monday was told that Mr Neville had later died at the Whittington Hospital on May 5 2013.

Pc Benjamin Pether was first to arrive at the scene along with his colleague Pc Chantelle Davies after they were flagged down by a cyclist who apparently said Mr Neville was “going mental”.

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“He [Mr Neville] was covered top to toe in blood. He had a green recycling container on top of his head and was running up and down waving his arms about.”

Pc Pether said Pc Davies was “quickly out of the car” and ran over to Mr Neville who he then saw “run towards her throwing two punches”.

Pc Pether said he got out of the car and Mr Neville then “stumbled over” to him, pulling him to the floor before a struggle.

He said he eventually managed to apply handcuffs and his colleagues who arrived to assist applied leg restraints to Mr Neville who was “so strong and also so slippery” because of the blood.

When asked by Rajeev Thacker – representing the family at the inquest – why he and Pc Davies chose to tackle Mr Neville rather than trying to “contain” him, Pc Pether said: “We’ve seen him on a deserted street covered in blood... I’d been told he had tried to kill someone. We did the right thing.”

Pc Pether described how Mr Neville’s tongue was blue as he lay on the pavement before an ambulance arrived, and he was taken to hospital. He said one of his first thoughts on arriving at the scene was that Mr Neville was suffering an acute behavioural disturbance.

Speaking prior to the inquest Mr Neville’s mother Carol said her son had been “distressed and in need of medical care”.

Both Ms Neville and Darren’s brother Louis said he had been acting strangely the day before the incident. The inquest continues.