Man dies while trying to escape from police car

An investigation has been launched after a 31-year-old man escaped from a police car specially converted to hold prisoners and died after falling under its wheels.

Wayne Bowen, of Sheerness, Kent, fell from the roof of a revamped Peugot 309 on Tuesday night after kicking out a rear window and climbing on to the roof.

He was alone in the back of the 'escape-proof' car which had been stripped and fitted with a plastic interior and a perspex shield to separate prisoners from police officers in front.

A spokesman for Kent police said yesterday that a fleet of the new vehicles was introduced in the county six months ago. The spokesman said that manpower savings was considered one of the vehicle's attractive features.

At least two officers are needed in other vehicles; one to drive and the other to sit in the back of the car with the prisoner. The possibility of design faults in the vehicle will be part of the police investigation.

Mr Bowen was arrested during a disturbance at the Old House and Home pub in Sheerness on Tuesday night. He was wanted for questioning about criminal damage to a car earlier that day.

Mr Bowen was placed in the back of the converted police car. A woman police driver and male probationer were in front. The spokesman said Mr Bowen became violent, kicked out the car's rear window and climbed on to the roof.

Although the vehicle had no window-winding mechanism, internal door handles or locks, the redesign did not affect the standard glass windows.

As the driver tried to stop in icy conditions, Mr Bowen fell off the roof and under the car. Emergency services were called but Mr Bowen had already died.

The spokesman said: 'The man had been getting violent and was very agitated about being in the car. But unfortunately he got out and died in the process.'

The Police Complaints Authority has been informed and a full inquiry will be made. The officers in question have not been suspended.

'It was a really minor offence. We are baffled as to why he climbed out of the car.'

Mr Bowen was being driven seven miles to the nearest custody station at Sittingbourne by the PC and the probationer when he died.

Night cover was withdrawn from the Sheerness station last year to save manpower but Kent police say there is no direct connection between that and the introduction of the new cars.

Kent police said the adapted Peugeot 309 was not specially called to the scene to take the prisoner to the police station, it just happened to be the vehicle which responded to the call.

The Police Complaints Authority investigation will be conducted by Supt Ian Humphreys of Kent Constabulary. But members of Mr Bowen's family yesterday called for an immediate explanation.

'We just want to know why and how this could possible happen,' his brother-in-law, Tony Hewitt, said.

'There are lots of questions that need answers and we need those answers right now.

'The police have been very nice to us and sympathetic but they can't tell us what happened to Wayne and that's what we want to know.'

The new cars are thought be in use in Strathclyde, Wiltshire and South Wales. They are widely used in Europe.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Magento Front End Web Developer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...

Investigo: management accountant

£250 - £300 per day: Investigo: Growing international marketing business requi...

Recruitment Genius: ORM / Online Reputational Consultant

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ORM Consultant is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Facilities Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of educat...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore