Police criticised over cocaine custody death

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The Independent Online

Police did not implement procedures "appropriately" when they dealt with a man who had a wrap of cocaine in his mouth, an inquest concluded today.

Jason McPherson, 25, of East Acton, west London, died after collapsing at a police station after being taken in to be searched on January 18, 2007.

He had put a packet of the drug in his mouth, which led to a struggle with officers at Notting Hill station, the inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice heard.

He died in hospital later.

The jury of 11 took five hours to return a narrative verdict on Mr McPherson's death.

Westminster Coroner Paul Knapman read out the unanimous decision of the jurors, which concluded Mr McPherson was not given the opportunity to remove the drugs voluntarily.

"It is our opinion that the procedures were not appropriately implemented," the verdict read.

"Upon discovering that there were possible drugs in Jason's mouth it did not appear Jason was given the opportunity to remove the drugs voluntarily through talking down (tactical communication)."

Cocaine intoxication was given by the jury as the cause of death.