Andrew Hall inquest: Man died after 'violent struggle' in police cells

Image source, Hall family
Image caption,
Andrew Hall, a father-of-three from Huddersfield, was initially taken to hospital after ingesting alcohol and prescription drugs

A man died following a "violent struggle" with up to six police officers, an inquest has heard.

Andrew Hall, 43, was taken to hospital after consuming a large quantity of brandy and prescription drugs in September 2016, a jury heard.

He allegedly slapped a nurse and was moved to a police station, where he was restrained during an altercation.

Upon his return to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, he went into cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated.

The inquest, being held at Bradford's Alhambra Theatre, heard father-of-three Mr Hall, from Dalton, was initially co-operative in the police station cells.

Assistant coroner Oliver Longstaff told jurors: "Without doubt, the struggle can be described neutrally as violent, and you will see up to six officers are trying to control Andrew."

CCTV footage due to be shown during the eight-week inquest was described as showing both Mr Hall and officers throwing punches.

'They're killing me'

Mr Hall can be seen to strike his head on the floor a number of times, Mr Longstaff said, telling the jury: "You will be able to make up your own mind whether use of force of any type was required, reasonable and appropriate."

The coroner said Mr Hall was eventually double-handcuffed and put in leg restraints before he was taken back to hospital on a stretcher.

Mr Hall was "still struggling" and being restrained by several police officers while he was examined by doctors, Mr Longstaff said.

"At this point Andrew was seen to be sweating profusely, spitting and screaming for help, shouting: 'they're killing me'," he said.

A decision was taken to sedate Mr Hall, the coroner said, after which doctors could not resuscitate him.

It was later found that he had a undiagnosed severe heart condition, he said.

Pathologists agreed a number of factors could have contributed to Mr Hall's death, the inquest was told, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Alcohol and drugs, including anti-depressant amitriptyline and painkiller co-codamol
  • The stress of the night's events
  • The restraint by police officers
  • Mr Hall's weight

"You will need to come to your own conclusions," Mr Longstaff told jurors.

The coroner told the jury he had been challenged by Leslie Thomas QC, representing Mr Hall's family, about his reference to Mr Hall as a "large man".

He said that "in attributing the manner in which police restrained Mr Hall to his size" the barrister was concerned that the coroner had "perpetuated racist tropes or stereotypical descriptions of black men generally".

Mr Longstaff assured the jury that his summary of the evidence did not include his own opinions and added: "It is a matter for you, in due course, whether the description of Mr Hall given in evidence by any particular witness is objectively accurate or whether it is motivated by any inappropriate preconceived attitudes to black men such as Mr Hall himself."

Giving witness evidence, Mr Hall's partner Natalie Dyer described him as a "loving, caring and considerate man".

"Not only did I lose my partner, three children lost their father, a mother and a father lost a son," she said.

"We hope that the inquest process provides us with answers to the many questions that we have."

The jury heard the police officers giving evidence during the inquest will talk behind a screen and will not be identified.

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