Officer denies using excessive force against mental health patient

By Annabal Bagdi | Walsall | News | Published: | Last Updated:

A police officer alleged to have used excessive force before a mental health patient went into cardiac arrest has claimed he felt in 'immediate danger'.

Kingsley Burrell died in 2011

Pc Mark Fannon said officers were left 'drenched in sweat' after trying to restrain 'muscular and athletic' Kingsley Burrell in a mental health unit.

He went on to tell a police misconduct hearing he feared for his safety during an 'immense struggle' with Walsall father Mr Burrell the day before his death.

Giving evidence on Wednesday, Pc Fannon said: "I felt in immediate danger for myself and my colleagues.

"[After finding out about Mr Burrell's death] I went home and kept on thinking about what happened and why he had died.

"I thought it was something to do with his heart. I had no other reason apart from it must have been a medical condition."

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Father-of-two Pc Fannon, who is based at West Midlands Police's Newtown station, dubbed Mr Burrell the 'strongest person' he had dealt with during his then seven years with the force.


The 47-year-old said he became concerned about Mr Burrell's apparent 'ongoing aggression' when police were called to Birmingham's Mary Seacole facility after the patient threatened staff.

Officers trying to restrain Mr Burrell felt 'exhausted' as they transferred him to hospital for treatment to an eye injury before taking him to a seclusion room at the city's Oleaster unit, he said.

Pc Fannon, who has served with the force for the past 14 years, admitted he struck Mr Burrell's thigh three times in line with Home Office guidance as a 'distraction technique'.

He claimed he also grabbed hold of his left arm and placed it in a lock in a 10-minute attempt to restrain Mr Burrell alongside colleagues in the seclusion room.


In paperwork completed following the incident, Pc Fannon wrote: "I thought it was proper and necessary. Had we let Mr Burrell have his way, he would have seriously hurt us."

Pc Fannon and his colleagues Paul Adey and Paul Greenfield deny any wrongdoing when restraining Mr Burrell, or that they lied during his 2015 inquest.

Mr Burrell was pronounced dead four days after he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act on March 31, 2011.

Presenting officer Fiona Barton, acting on behalf of West Midlands Police, previously told the panel the officers maintain they did not see anything covering Mr Burrell’s face prior to his death.

But witnesses have since given evidence claiming they spotted an item, believed to be a towel or blanket, covering Mr Burrell's face as he was moved to the seclusion room.

Footage from CCTV captured an item covering Mr Burrell's face as he was transferred from the city's Queen Elizabeth Hospital to the Oleaster unit, Ms Barton alleged.

But Pc Fannon continued to claim he could not recall anything covering Mr Burrell's face, instead maintaining he was focussing on restraining his arms.

During cross-examination, Ms Barton said: "Is the evidence you have given a deliberate attempt to try and explain why you haven't seen the absolutely obvious?

Pc Fannon replied: "No."

Ms Barton continued: "Because you accept now, don't you, from the A&E footage that it's pretty obvious that he had something on his head at that time."

Pc Fannon replied: "From the photos, yes."

The officers deny they breached standards of professional behaviour by providing a dishonest and misleading account during interview, that they never sought to correct that account and repeated that dishonest account during inquest. They also deny they used force which was inappropriate, unnecessary, and excessive.

The hearing continues.

Annabal Bagdi

By Annabal Bagdi

Senior reporter based at head office in Wolverhampton.

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