Police questioned in mystery death of Holloway man
- Credit: Archant
Partner pays tribute to ‘deeply loved’ father of six at his inquest
Officers have been quizzed this week at a jury inquest into the mysterious and violent death of a man in Holloway.
Michael Saverin Vital, 47, died at an address in Trefil Walk in the early hours of July 27 last year after police were called to reports of screaming and the sound of smashing glass, St Pancras Coroners’ Court heard on Monday.
The actions of officers who were called to the scene have been subject to an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation and are under scrutiny at the inquest.
Concerned neighbours alerted police between midnight and 1am on hearing Mr Vital moaning in pain, and his last ‘dying breaths.’
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One resident, Elaine di Bernadi, who had lived in Trefil Walk for seven years, recounted the incident and Mr Vital’s final moments in chilling detail.
She said: “The guy was deeply, deeply hurt. After the glass smashing, I remember his moans of pain and his breathing becoming more spaced, and quieter and quieter.
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“He was gasping for breath and when the paramedics and police arrived there was not very much they could do.”
His partner of 25 years and mother of his six children, Eve Brown, touchingly described Mr Vital, who was visiting his cousin Danny Thomas at the time of the incident, as a “truly unique character and deeply loved by those who knew him.”
Mr Vital had a lifelong passion for music and football and ran a record dealing business, alongside coaching his local football team and youth work.
The court later heard evidence from Pc Modesty Georgiades, one of the first Islington police officers to arrive on the scene at Trefil Walk just ten minutes after calls from worried neighbours.
Visibly distressed, Pc Georgiades described looking through the broken window into the flat with Mr Vital inside, and seeing “him writhing around and screaming in pain with huge lacerations to his body.
“There was glass from the shattered window and a shattered mirror everywhere. The room was in complete disarray and absolutely covered in blood.”
The court also heard that Mr Vital had a prolonged history of cocaine and alcohol dependency which had caused a number of hallucinatory and psychotic episodes in the lead-up to his death.
Mr Vital, who lived in Poole, Dorset with his children and partner, Ms Brown, had gone to stay with his cousin, Danny Thomas at his flat in Holloway.
In evidence submitted to the court, Mr Thomas told the court that Mr Vital had been “very frustrated with work” following the delay of the Back to the Future Secret Cinema event last July, where he was set to have a stall selling his records.
In the days following, Mr Thomas noticed his cousin’s mood plummet and saw him experience several hallucinatory episodes.
In one incident, Mr Thomas found his cousin hiding under the bed, and said that he could see and hear dogs trying to attack him.
Mr Thomas told the court: “I thought Michael was on something... He was dishevelled, sweating and very hot. He was shouting ‘Get them out’ so I sat up with him for most of the night and went to work the next day.”
An IPCC investigation into the conduct of the six police officers who attended the scene in the hour preceding his death has concluded.
But the findings will not be released until after the inquest, which is set to run for a further two weeks.