Jacob Michael inquest: Jury shown CCTV of custody suite

Footage taken from the police van and the custody office was shown to the jury

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A jury has been shown CCTV images of the moments before a man who had been pepper sprayed by police died on a custody cell floor.

Jacob Michael was held after allegedly threatening police with a hammer in Widnes, Cheshire, in August 2011.

Footage taken from the police van and the custody office was shown to the jury at the inquest in Daresbury.

Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg told them they must determine if there were any deficiencies in his care in custody.

He said if they thought there were deficiencies then they needed to consider whether they contributed to his death.

However, he said the hearing was not a trial and the jury must not apportion blame for Mr Michael's death.

The inquest, held at Warrington Coroner's Court, sitting at Daresbury Park Hotel, heard Mr Michael called police on 22 August after telling his father someone had pulled a gun on him.

Jacob Michael Jacob Michael called police to his home in Widnes in August 2011

When two police officers arrived at his home in Lacey Street, Widnes, he initially refused to come out of his bedroom.

A struggle ensued and officers used pepper spray on Mr Michael when he threatened them.

He ran away down the street and the officers followed him, hitting him with batons before placing him in handcuffs and leg restraints.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of the pursuit and of him inside the police van.

In those images, Mr Michael was seen without his top, repeatedly saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry".

Officers told him to stand up and he was placed into the van handcuffed.

On the journey to Runcorn police station, the CCTV showed images of Mr Michael moaning and he could be heard saying "please, please".

He was then taken to Norton custody office in Runcorn, where he was carried into a holding cell.

Start Quote

You have got to decide whether the force used was reasonable and lawful”

End Quote Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg

The jury was shown footage of officers standing near to Mr Michael, with one of them standing on his leg.

The jury heard he was moving at first but then he became still.

CCTV footage showed police officers and a nurse trying to resuscitate him when he lay on the cell floor.

An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital, but could not be revived.

The inquest heard he died less than 45 minutes after he made the 999 call.

Mr Michael's mother, Christine, was in court and is due to give evidence during the inquest which is listed for four weeks.

His father had since died, the jury was told.

Mr Rheinberg told the jury that witnesses may suggest Mr Michael had been taking cocaine and drinking on the weekend before he died.

He told them: "You have got to decide whether the force used was reasonable and lawful."

He added that the authorities had "a duty to protect" people in custody.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has opened an inquiry into Mr Michael's death.

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