Police surgeon on cell-death charge

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The Independent Online
A POLICE surgeon was yesterday charged with manslaughter following the death of a 22-year-old man he attended in a police cell. It is believed to be the first case of its kind.

Dr Sharwan Kumar Mehra, 67, is charged in connection with the death of Craig Vose, who was found dead at Pilgrim Street police station in Newcastle upon Tyne from a suspected overdose of the heroin substitute methadone and sleeping tablets in March last year. He had been arrested the previous day on suspicion of shoplifting.

It is understood that a prescription was made out for Mr Vose following an examination in his cell. A police spokesman said Dr Mehra of Ponteland, Northumberland, had attended Mr Vose for a "medical matter". Dr Mehra was suspended from the Police Surgeon Scheme in May last year in connection with the death. He was one of a number of doctors contracted to Northumbria Police to treat people who were considered ill in custody.

The General Medical Council has been informed of the police inquiry and manslaughter charge, but Dr Mehra - who has a GP surgery in Newcastle - has not been suspended from practising. He is due to appear before magistrates on 13 July.

Northumbria police's disciplinary department, carried out an investigation, overseen by the independent Police Complaints Authority, and a file of evidence was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service. An inquest into Mr Vose's death has been opened and adjourned.