Met officer denies treating man with 'wanton disregard'

A Metropolitan police officer who was assaulted by a mentally ill man who later died in police custody has denied treating him with "wanton disregard" because he was angry, an inquest has been told.

PC Matthew Forward insisted that he had carefully monitored Sean Rigg at all times, and that he was conscious and responsive until shortly before he died in the caged area at Brixton police station in south London in August 2008.

PC Forward denied being part of a ruse to cover-up the fact Mr Rigg's had been badly treated and was unconscious at the police station for almost half an hour before a doctor was called. The officer was shown photographs taken by a pathologist after death which show three clusters of bruises and abrasions on Mr Rigg's face. PC Forward told the jury at Southwark Coroner's Court that he had not seen any visible injuries on Mr Rigg.

CCTV footage appeared to show several officers, including PC Forward, carrying out life-saving treatment on Mr Rigg while the Forensic Medical Examiner, a specialist GP, is seen hovering on the edges.

Leslie Thomas QC, acting for the Rigg family, asked: "You said you were struck twice in the head, did that make you angry... Is that why Mr Rigg was treated in that manner… with complete wanton disregard of his safety and well-being?"

He replied: "No sir that's not what happened."

"Looking at this now [the CCTV footage], do you think that you are offering the man the care he deserved?" he asked.

"Based on what we knew at the time, yes I do," answered PC Forward, who was giving evidence for a third day.

PC Forward also denied changing his version of events in order to match what his colleagues had said in their statements.

The barrister acting for the Metropolitan Police Service later asked him: "It has been suggested to you were part of a group of officers who put Mr Rigg into the recovery position for show for the custody sergeant... and after [he] left - you took him out of the recovery position."

"No sir, that did not happen," replied PC Forward. "I was carefully monitoring him."

The inquest continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Howard Marks has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer, he has announced
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
Rowan Atkinson at the wheel of his McLaren F1 GTR sports car
people
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us