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Inquest to open into death of Terry Smith in custody

AN INQUEST opens on Monday into the death of a man who died after being detained and restrained by Surrey Police.

In November 2013, Terry Smith was displaying increasingly distressed, strange and agitated behaviour, according to the Inquest charity for families of people who have died in custody.

His family called for an ambulance before two emergency medical technicians employed by private firm ERS Medical attended and requested police assistance.  

Mr Smith was detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act and restrained by multiple officers, using handcuffs, limb restraints and a spit hood. He was taken to a cell at Staines Police Station. 
 
Officers then fitted a body cuff after being advised by a police Forensic Medical Examiner (FME) to take him to hospital.

Mr Smith developed breathing difficulties and was taken to St Peter’s Hospital by ambulance – where he was pronounced dead the following day.
 
An Inquest spokesperson said: “All aspects of Terry’s treatment leading to his death are matters for grave concern. 

“This inquest must establish how Surrey Police believed they were justified in using such levels of restraint, particularly against someone as vulnerable as Terry was.

“Detained by the police under the Mental Health Act, Terry should have been treated first and foremost as a patient in need of medical care.”

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