Duncan Tomlin inquest: 'Mass of police officers on him'

Paul TomlinImage source, Family handout
Image caption,
Duncan Tomlin died in hospital two days after his arrest in July 2014

A friend of a man who died after being restrained by police has told how officers "piled onto him" while he was pinned down and screaming in pain.

Duncan Tomlin, 32, had epilepsy and died in July 2014 after being arrested in Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

Daisy Young told his inquest she felt "disproportionate force" had been used by Sussex Police to restrain him.

"He could barely move," she told West Sussex Coroner's Court, adding that it was "a volatile situation".

Ms Young said: "I saw a mass of police officers on him - a couple seemed to be kneeling right on him.

"He was being pushed into the road, physically, you could barely see anything of his body.

"He was yelling, it seemed he was being squashed.

"He wasn't the biggest guy and there were a lot of people on him… he was screaming," she told the court.

'Limbs in high-vis'

When questioned by coroner Eizabeth Bussey-Jones, Ms Young said she thought there were three police officers on top of Mr Tomlin.

"There were limbs in high-vis everywhere," she said.

Ms Young told the court that at the time she did not know Mr Tomlin, who was originally from Oxfordshire, had epilepsy, but she thought his girlfriend Ann-Marie Botting had mentioned it to her later.

"At some point when we saw he was being held down - I think one of the things Ann was saying to the police was that he was having a seizure," she said.

The court heard Ms Young had spent the evening of 26 July 2014 with the couple at a friend's flat.

She told the jury she believed Ms Botting and Mr Tomlin had taken "three or four" lines of cocaine and they had all been drinking.

The inquest continues.

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