Inquiry launched after man dies in police custody

An inquiry has been launched by the police watchdog following the death of a man who was restrained using pepper spray.

Jacob Michael, 25, was arrested for alleged affray in Widnes, Cheshire, and taken by police van to a custody suite.

The spray is understood to have been used on him during the course of the arrest on Monday evening.

Shortly after he arrived at Runcorn police station in Cheshire he became unwell and paramedics were called, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.

He was taken to Warrington General Hospital by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.

A spokesman for the IPPC, which is investigating his death, said: "At about 5.15pm on Monday, two police officers attended an address in Lacey Street in Widnes in response to a call received.

"Following a call for assistance, further officers arrived and the 25-year-old man was arrested for alleged affray.

"During the course of the arrest it is understood police deployed pepper spray."

A post-mortem examination carried out yesterday failed to establish the cause of the young man's death and further tests will be conducted "as a matter of urgency to identify any contributory factors", the IPCC spokesman said.

Investigators spent yesterday gathering evidence and initial accounts from police officers, and the police van Michael was transported in was secured for examination, along with CCTV from the custody area, he added.

IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik, who is overseeing the probe, said: "Investigators have been in Widnes collecting evidence that has helped us begin to start to piece together what happened when police attended Jacob's home.

"Aside from the information we have already gathered, I am aware that people have made comments on social media sites and to journalists indicating they may have witnessed police detaining Jacob on Lacey St. I would ask those people to contact our investigators on 0161 246 8511.

"A cause of death has not been established yet and we have asked that further tests be conducted with the utmost urgency. While we await these answers, I ask people to remain calm and have patience. I can assure them this will be a thorough investigation, the findings of which will be aired and tested in a public forum at some point in the future."

Cheshire Police said today that post-mortem results showed "no physical injuries on Michael that could be attributable to a cause of his death".

In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Philip Thompson said: "Whilst pepper spray was discharged during the course of his arrest, there is no evidence that the use of pepper spray was the sole factor, or indeed a contributory factor, to Mr Michael becoming unwell some time after his arrest, or as a cause of his death.

"These are amongst the reasons why further extensive tests will be required to establish an exact cause of death.

"The police are co-operating openly with the IPCC and have provided detailed briefings to local councillors and other partners concerning the event.

"The family of Mr Michael are being supported by liaison officers and the IPCC is ensuring they are being informed of the progress of their investigation.

"I appeal for people to remain calm to allow the IPCC to conduct their investigation effectively and swiftly and await the outcome of the investigation before making any judgment on this matter."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup