London

Sean Rigg death: Brixton custody sergeant 'clearly lied'

Sean Rigg Image copyright PA
Image caption Sean Rigg died in police custody in 2008

A Metropolitan Police custody sergeant lied at the inquest into Sean Rigg's death, his perjury trial has heard.

Paul White, 53, who denies perjury, is accused of falsely stating at Mr Rigg's inquest that he had checked the 40-year-old's health when he arrived at Brixton police station.

Mr Rigg suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and in the weeks before his death had not taken his medication.

He died after collapsing in police custody on 21 August 2008.

After he was arrested Mr Rigg was kept in the back of a police van for some time before being taken into the police station.

Jurors heard that in March 2009 Sgt White told the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) that he left the south London custody suite to check on Mr Rigg in the van.

'In his care'

On 10 July 2012 he told the inquest at Southwark Coroner's Court the same thing, stating that he had assessed Mr Rigg's health between 19:53 BST and 20:03 BST, Southwark Crown Court heard.

But the prosecution told the court the officer was "clearly lying".

Max Hill QC, prosecuting, said analysis of CCTV footage from the custody suite at Brixton police station proved Sgt White had not visited Mr Rigg in the back of the police van.

"As you might expect, Sgt White was confronted with this evidence in the witness box at the inquest hearing, and he conceded that he could not have been to see Mr Rigg as he had described," he said.

"We suggest that Sgt White deliberately lied in his evidence, in order to conceal the fact that he did not undertake any assessment of Sean Rigg's condition and welfare during the period in which he was kept in the van.

"This is important because, as the on-duty custody sergeant that day, Mr Rigg and any other persons detained at Brixton police station were in Sgt White's care."

The trial continues.

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