Man died after police sprayed him with CS gas

POLICE used CS spray on a mentally ill man shortly before he was found dead in the attic of his home.

A Police Complaints Authority inquiry has confirmed the spray was used on Mark Bell, 26, while he was alone in the loft of the family home, where his body was found hanging a short time later.

"He was in a loft, he doesn't appear to have been going anywhere, or to have been a threat or danger, so why was there a need to use CS spray, which is intended as a last resort?" said Jenny Wilmot, policy officer for MIND, the mental health charity.

A second PCA inquiry has being carried out on the case of another mentally ill man seriously injured when jumping through a window after he too had been sprayed with CS.

The investigations come amid growing concern about the use of CS spray on mentally ill people.

The first legal challenge to the use of CS on the mentally ill is already under way: a 28-year old Cambridge man claims he was assaulted with CS in his home and that its use denied him his constitutional rights as a patient.

Yesterday the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) urged the Government to provide new guidelines on use of the spray with the mentally ill.

A PCA report on Mr Bell has been completed and is expected to confirm Humberside police used CS at his home in Scunthorpe two months ago. Earlier in the day he had been treated at hospital because of concerns about his health. It is understood he discharged himself against advice.

When police arrived at his home he retreated to the loft, where spray was used.

Mr Bell, a father of three, was found asphyxiated in the loft.

The cause of death is thought to have been hanging; an inquest has yet to be held.

In the second case, the PCA has been investigating how a 28-year-old Hebden Bridge man was critically injured in a fall from a fourth-storey window soon after being sprayed with CS. Attempts were being made to take him to hospital and there was a social worker in attendance. The man is believed to have thrown himself through a window.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said yesterday: "We conducted a full inquiry and we have submitted a final report to the PCA and we are now awaiting a response. We were asked to attend by the psychiatric service to help transfer the man to hospital. CS spray was used during the incident."

In Cambridge, a 28-year-old man is suing police for alleged assault with a CS spray and for violating his rights as a patient. It is the first case of its kind.

He is suing for assault and exemplary damages for police violation of his constitutional rights as a patient being detained under the Mental Health Act. It is claimed he was sprayed in his home in the presence of his family and a social worker, who also suffered the burning after- effects of the spray, as he was about to be taken to hospital.

An added problem with the use of CS sprays on the mentally ill is the risk of dangerous interactions with the cocktails of drugs that many mental ill people are taking.

Although CS is regularly used on the mentally ill, no research has been done on the reaction of CS chemicals with the powerful anti-psychotic medication and its effect on behaviour. MIND wants an immediate halt to the use of the spray on mentally ill people and is especially concerned about its use when patients are being taken to hospital.

A PCA spokesman said it had received the final report on the man who died in Scunthorpe and was examining it prior to giving it to the coroner.

"The Hebden Bridge investigation has also been completed and we are examining that too. In both cases CS spray was involved."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world