South West Wales

Darren Pantall death: Dyfed-Powys Police 'acted appropriately'

Police officers acted properly after arresting a man who died later in hospital, a watchdog has found.

Darren Pantall, 45, died at Prince Phillip Hospital in Llanelli on 30 November last year shortly after being arrested in the town.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has published a report finding that Dyfed-Powys Police officers had acted appropriately.

Earlier this month, an inquest jury returned a narrative verdict.

The IPCC said Mr Pantall was arrested on suspicion of assault in Heol Erw, near Llanelli police station, at 17:30 GMT on 30 November.

He was seen to put something in his mouth when approached by an officer and was taken on foot to the station about 50 metres away.

While in the custody holding area he developed breathing difficulties, and paramedics were unable to revive him, said the IPCC.

It said Mr Pantall had a history of drug swallowing and this should have been recorded on the force's intelligence system.

But the report said that given the sudden circumstances of the arrest it was unlikely such a warning would have altered the rapid course of events.

Mr Pantall was pronounced dead at Prince Phillip Hospital at around 19:00 GMT that day.

The IPCC completed its investigation in March, and an inquest was held in Carmarthen on 2 October, returning a narrative verdict.

Lawfully arrested

Tom Davies, IPCC commissioner for Wales, said: "We have conducted a thorough, independent investigation into the death of Mr Pantall and have found that police officers acted appropriately.

"Mr Pantall was spotted by an officer who knew he was a suspect for an assault offence and was arrested and taken to the nearby police station.

"Once there were signs that his condition deteriorated officers ensured he had swift medical attention."

The IPCC investigation found that Mr Pantall was lawfully arrested, that the decision to initially take him to the nearby police station was reasonable, and that police officers responded appropriately to the medical emergency.

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