Duncan Tomlin arrest death: Sergeant 'felt like criminal'

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Image source, PA
Image caption,
Sgt Glasspool said he started to panic when Duncan Tomlin stopped shouting

A sergeant facing a misconduct panel over the death of an epileptic man who was restrained face down in a police van has said he "felt like a criminal" when he was questioned.

Sgt Christopher Glasspool described his panic when Duncan Tomlin "suddenly" stopped shouting from inside the van.

The sergeant is one of five Sussex Police officers who were investigated after Mr Tomlin died in July 2014.

Three are facing misconduct allegations after one was cleared and one resigned.

The panel has heard Mr Tomlin, 32, originally from Oxfordshire, was detained during a struggle in Haywards Heath. He died in hospital.

When police arrived, Mr Tomlin ran off and his partner told two other officers he had epilepsy and could be having a seizure, the panel heard.

After he punched an officer, he was wrestled to the ground, sprayed with an incapacitant, handcuffed, placed in leg and thigh restraints and held face down on the floor before being carried into the van where he collapsed, the panel was told.

Sgt Glasspool said he did "everything he could" to save his life but said he was not told about the possible seizure until after paramedics arrived.

Image source, Family Handout/PA
Image caption,
Pathologists found drugs and positional asphyxia played a part in Mr Tomlin's death

He told the panel he could hear Mr Tomlin "screaming and shouting" when he arrived to help officers already there.

But he said Mr Tomlin "suddenly" stopped shouting inside the van, adding: "That was a huge change in his demeanour.

"His breathing appeared to be laboured.

"I started to panic. I was really, really concerned for his welfare."

He said it was "horrendous" being questioned over the death, adding: "I felt like a criminal."

It is claimed he failed to gather detailed information about the circumstances when he arrived at the scene, asking if "everyone was OK".

He said: "Based on the responses I got I felt I had enough information to move forward."

Responding to claims he ignored warnings of a seizure, Sgt Glasspool said he told paramedics as soon as he found out.

Asked why it took so long to move Mr Tomlin on to his side with seven officers present to assist, he said it was a "dangerous manoeuvre".

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Duncan Tomlin's father, Paul Tomlin (left), is attending the hearing

The hearing has been told Mr Tomlin was in the van for seven and a half minutes before Sgt Glasspool and another officer gave CPR.

The panel heard Sgt Glasspool's written statement did not mention epilepsy or a possible seizure.

Pathologists found drugs and positional asphyxia played a part in the death.

Sgt Glasspool, PC Jamie Jackson and PC Daniel Jewell are accused of "inexplicable delays" in removing restraints after they realised there was a medical emergency.

All deny misconduct and gross misconduct.

Sgt Glasspool denies claims he failed to properly assess the situation and identify a medical emergency.

The hearing continues.

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