Berkshire

Police restraint 'contributed to death of Philmore Mills'

Philmore Mills
Image caption Philmore Mills died on 27 December 2011 after he was restrained on the floor and handcuffed by police called by nursing staff

"Panicked" nurses did not communicate with police over the condition of a man who died after being restrained in hospital, an inquest heard.

Philmore Mills, 57, died on 27 December 2011 at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, after being handcuffed on the floor.

Mr Mills was suffering from hypoxia - a severe oxygen deficiency - causing him to be aggressive.

After the inquest Mr Mills' daughter Julie said: "No family should have to go through what we have gone through."

'Suddenly screaming'

An inquest jury sitting at Reading Coroner's Court recorded that Mr Mills died as a result of cardiorespiratory collapse, hypoxia, and severe lung and heart disease in association with restraint.

In the early hours of 27 December Mr Mills approached nurses not wearing his oxygen mask and began "suddenly screaming", the hearing was told.

The nurses "panicked" and called security guards, who were given "minimal direction" by clinical staff.

Thames Valley Police were called and "had no verbal communication" with the nurses, resulting in officers restraining the man on the floor and handcuffing him, at which point he became unresponsive.

Image caption Mr Mills's daughter Julie Duncan, second from right, said "no family should have to go through what we had to endure"

He died when attempts to resuscitate him failed.

The jury-led inquest marks an end to a four-year campaign by Mr Mills's family to find out what happened to the father of four.

In a statement, grandson Kyian Brown said: "It is shocking that neither the nurses, security staff or police officers spoke to each other before restraining him.

"None of the witnesses accepted responsibility for the death of our father and grandfather. No family should have to go through what we have gone through."

Timeline:

21 December 2011: Mr Mills is taken to Wexham Park Hospital with a suspected chest infection and is diagnosed with a tumour on the lung and pneumonia

26 December 2011: Rachel Gumbs, Mr Mills's daughter, visits her father for the last time

27 December 2011: Mr Mills dies after being restrained by police because he became "aggressive" to staff

March 2014: CPS rules there is insufficient evidence to bring any charges over the death of Mr Mills

July 2015: Thames Valley Police clears PCs Mark Davis and Michael Harvey of misconduct over the death of Mr Mills

8 February 2016: Inquest into the death of Mr Mills begins at Reading Coroner's Court

8 March 2016: Jury records that Mr Mills died from a cardiorespiratory collapse, hypoxia, and severe lung and heart disease in association with restraint

Senior coroner Peter Bedford has recommended that further training be given to police when using a "take down", similar to the way that Mr Mills was restrained.

He added that police should be reminded that a "take down" can result in death.

Thames Valley Police has said it will review the verdict to "ensure that officers receive the best training".

Superintendent Simon Bowden said: "Police officers are required to apply restraint tactics in a number of diverse situations, and communication is essential to the safety of all involved.

"[We] will fully review the detail of the narrative verdict, to ensure that officers receive the best training, to enable them to deploy restraint tactics appropriately and to achieve the best outcome, which must be to protect all involved and minimise the risk of harm."

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