Dorset

Ambulance 'delay' to man who died after police restraint

Douglas Oak Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Douglas Oak suffered a cardiac arrest as police officers restrained him

An ambulance was sent to a man who died after being restrained by police "about 50 minutes" after the 999 call, an inquest has heard.

Douglas Oak, 35, suffered a cardiac arrest as he was held down by officers in Poole on 11 April 2017, Bournemouth Coroner's Court was told.

The court heard South Western Ambulance Service was not informed by Dorset Police of a 999 call requesting police and an ambulance for about 25 minutes.

Mr Oak died the following day.

The inquest heard he was seen during the afternoon in a state of "excited delirium" looking "very distressed" as he ran in the road and climbed into gardens.

Two neighbours who had never previously met Mr Oak - Duncan Sutherland and Karen Gore - said they tried to calm him down.

Ms Gore dialled 999 at about 16:10 BST and the court heard the transcript of the call in which she requested police and an ambulance.

Mr Sutherland said police arrived and he saw three officers hold Mr Oak down in the middle of the road as he "thrashed about" on the ground.

Officers used two body straps and handcuffed Mr Oak behind his back, Mr Sutherland said.

He said police were reassuring Mr Oak that they were trying to help him, but "the level of agitation was much greater than when we talked to him".

Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Douglas Oak was "gifted, kind and gentle", his mother told the inquest

Mr Sutherland said he heard officers call for an ambulance to be deployed as Mr Oak began to lose consciousness, and more police officers arrived with a defibrillator.

"I remember thinking 'where on earth is the ambulance?'" he told the court.

Ms Gore said the officers were "doing all they could" before paramedics arrived.

She said it had been "about 50 minutes" after her 999 call that the ambulance arrived.

Edward Pleeth, the barrister representing South Western Ambulance Service, said his client was not told of the request for an ambulance by the Dorset Police control room until 16:35 - about 25 minutes after Ms Gore's call.

"That was the first time South Western Ambulance knew anything about Mr Oak being on the roadside," he said.

The court previously heard a post-mortem examination found Mr Oak, from Poole, died of "cocaine intoxication, excitement, exertion, restraint and hyperthermia with terminal bronchopneumonia".

The inquest continues.

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