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Police not to blame for Wolverhampton woman's custody death

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

The family of a 30-year-old woman who died while in police custody say they are 'disappointed' with the conclusion reached by a coroner following a two-day inquest.

Sharmila Ullah, of Fourth Avenue, Wolverhampton, was held at Bloxwich Police Station in July last year after being arrested for shoplifting.

Smethwick Coroners Court was told the mother-of-four, better known as Millie, had been taken to Walsall Manor Hospital after suffering abdominal pain and vomiting on July 9.

Senior coroner Zafar Siddique was told she was assessed and given medication before being discharged back to custody. She was also examined by a nurse at the custody suite on July 10.

The inquest was told her condition had deteriorated and she was later found to be unresponsive in her cell. Paramedics were called and she was taken back to the hospital but efforts to revive her failed.

Her sudden death sparked an independent investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which said she had been examined by nurses who said she was 'fit to detain' in a cell.

At the inquest, her family said they were concerned there had been a lack of communication between the hospital staff and police officers which may have contributed to her death.

They said police should also have sent her back to the hospital as she continued to be unwell.

The inquest was told she had long-standing problems with drug and alcohol abuse.

But at the conclusion of the hearing, Mr Siddique said while there may have been some 'individual failings' in regards to observations while she was in custody he was not satisfied they had contributed to her death. He said that post-mortem evidence suggested her sudden death had been due to long-standing alcohol misuse and alcohol withdrawal.

She also had arrhythmia and liver damage.

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