Aston McLean death: Police 'not to blame'

Aston McLean from Reading Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Aston McLean was chased by police who were responding to a burglary in Reading

No police officer was to blame over the death of a man who fell in front of a police car that hit and killed him, an inquest heard.

Aston McLean, 27, was being chased before he was hit by an armed response vehicle (ARV) in Reading in 2014.

An officer used incapacitant spray on Mr McLean before he fell. Two officers were previously cleared of gross misconduct.

There were angry scenes in court and a man was arrested by police.

The two-week inquest at Reading Town Hall heard that in the early hours of 6 August 2014 a member of the public reported two men on the roof of a bike shop with an axe and hammer.

Mr McLean lowered himself from the roof and began to run on the pavement of Wokingham Road before being chased by four police officers on foot, the jury was told.

He then veered left into the carriageway, before a police officer also in the road doused him in spray.

Image caption Police were called to Reading Town Hall following a disturbance

Mr McLean then fell into the path of an approaching ARV which mounted the curb with him trapped underneath. The cause of death was given as asphyxiation.

But the jury found insufficient evidence as to what caused Mr McLean to fall. It also found no evidence to suggest an officer, only referred to as PC P, was aware of the approaching ARV before he used the spray.

PC N, who was driving the ARV, previously told the court he had been trying to contain the suspect.

Senior coroner Heidi Connor recorded a narrative verdict.

She told the family: "This case was about Aston and I have not forgotten about that at any point during the last two weeks. I would like to end by offering you my heartfelt condolences."

There was shouting and scuffles in the court following the verdict. The disturbance continued outside and police were called to the scene.

A 22-year-old man from Reading was arrested on suspicion of assaulting police and is in custody.

Following the inquest's conclusion Thames Valley Police Assistant Chief Constable Chris Ward said it had been "an extremely important opportunity to identify areas for learning".

He said following an internal review "no changes to our officers training have been identified", but that the "exceptional circumstances of the death of Aston are now used in officer safety training as a scenario to raise awareness".

He added: "Additionally we have asked the National Police Chief's Council to review the circumstances of this case to further identify any learning or changes required to national policy."

Image caption Mr McLean died after he was trapped beneath an armed response vehicle in Wokingham Road

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