Man paralysed after arrest demands a full public inquiry

Gary Reynolds, left in a coma in a police cell, fears the same thing could easily happen to others

A man left brain damaged is demanding a public inquiry into "systemic failings" of police and private security staff which almost killed him.

Gary Reynolds, 41, an accomplished marathon runner and self-employed painter and decorator, was found in a coma in his cell a few hours after he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly in Brighton city centre in 2008.

His lawyers believe the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) failed to investigate properly the circumstances surrounding his arrest and subsequent treatment in the police station, which has resulted in a "deeply flawed report" that "fails to hold those implicated to account".

Mr Reynolds is paralysed on his left side, cognitively impaired and will need full-time care for the rest of his life. No one from Sussex Police or Reliance Security Group, which runs the custody suite, is to lose their job.

Daniel Machover, a partner at Hickman & Rose Solicitors, said: "If he had died, there would be an inquest. If he could remember, he could give his own evidence. But because what happened to him was so serious that he came close to death and doesn't remember anything, we believe these issues must be explored in public in order for the whole truth to come out and lessons to be learnt."

What has been said in court is that in the early hours of Saturday 2 March 2008 Gary Reynolds hailed a taxi after leaving a party seven miles from his home. When he arrived at his destination, he was apparently confused about where he wanted to go, so the taxi driver took him to the city centre. Just after 2.30am, the driver approached police at a nightspot in Brighton, claiming Mr Reynolds was refusing to pay the full fare.

The police arrested him for drunk and disorderly behaviour. It is alleged that Mr Reynolds, while handcuffed, resisted arrest, so was taken to the ground by several officers and a nightclub bouncer. At this point a thud or crack was heard. Two officers checked his head before he was transferred to a police station, but custody officers were not told of a possible head injury. And, despite guidance from the Home Office and IPCC the previous month, no attempts were made to rouse Mr Reynolds; everyone assumed he was drunk and sleeping it off.

The police discovered he was in a coma at 11am and called an ambulance. He woke up after five weeks with a large chunk missing from the right side of his skull, removed by surgeons trying to stem bleeding.

The taxi driver, present at the arrest and the last civilian to see him before police intervened, was interviewed by officers before the IPCC spoke to him. This was a grave error and reflects the IPCC's failure to get hold of the investigation right from the start, Mr Machover said.

No action is recommended against the officers who arrested him. Three station officers have been given advice. But the custody sergeant whose care for Mr Reynolds is described by the IPCC as "perfunctory at best and possibly negligent at worst" will escape discipline because he retired shortly after the event. He now works for Sussex Police in a civil capacity.

Two custody assistants working for Reliance were criticised for their "perfunctory approach", but the IPCC cannot make enforceable recommendations to private companies. One has since been accepted as a trainee officer with Sussex Police. The Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to prosecute anyone.

Speaking from the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London last week, Mr Reynolds said: "I feel so angry at the IPCC; they've let them get away with it, the people who left me for dead in a police cell. I hate to think it could happen to anyone else."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans is the favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing