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Officer criticised over Oldbury custody suite death

By David Cosgrove | Oldbury | News | Published:

A police officer has been criticised after a man's death in custody, the force watchdog said.

Oldbury custody suite

Christopher Morgan, aged 38, died in the Oldbury custody suite after suffering a heart attack in September.

CCTV footage from the cell block showed he had suffered a seizure 30 minutes before being found on the floor.

An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) concluded that a custody officer faced a case to answer for misconduct.

The watchdog raised concerns about how frequently Mr Morgan had been observed and how records were kept.

But the IOPC deemed this could be addressed through performance management and West Midlands Police agreed.

IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: “Our sympathies are with Mr Morgan’s family and everyone else affected by his death.

"We have a duty to investigate any death in police custody and to ensure any learning to help this challenging environment is identified.”

Mr Morgan was found unresponsive in his cell during a routine check at 2am on September 21 and pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

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At an inquest held last month (april) the jury recorded a conclusion his death was drug-related.

CCTV footage from the custody unit showed Mr Morgan suffered a seizure about 30 minutes before he was found on the floor of his cell.

At that time, following medical examination, he had been ruled suitable for hourly checks, which had been carried out correctly.

However earlier during his detention he had been listed for half-hourly observations.

Evidence gathered by an IOPC investigator found that for a period of time those checks had only taken place every hour.

David Cosgrove

By David Cosgrove
Chief Reporter - @davidcosgrove_

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