Man suspected of swallowing drugs wins stand-off with police after refusing to use toilet for 47 days

Lamarr Chambers released from custody and taken to hospital following medical and legal advice, heralding the end of 'poo watch'

Tom Embury-Dennis
Wednesday 07 March 2018 16:23
Man suspected of swallowing drugs wins stand-off with police after refusing to use toilet for 47 days

A man suspected of swallowing a stash of drugs has won his freedom – and a stand-off with police - after refusing to go to the toilet for 47 days.

Lamarr Chambers was arrested in Harlow, Essex on 17 January and charged with two counts of possessing class A drugs with intent to supply.

The 24-year-old refused to take laxatives or be X-rayed during his time in custody, but continued to eat and drink. Essex Police tweeted daily updates of what they described as “poo watch”.

But officers decided to release Mr Chambers from custody on Monday “following medical and legal advice”, and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dropped the charge.

Although Mr Chambers was rearrested on a separate charge of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug, he was released on bail and taken by police car to hospital for medical treatment.

“On the basis of all the medical evidence in this case it is most appropriate, both in the interests of Mr Chambers and of justice, to ensure he receives the hospital treatment he needs,” said Deputy Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington, who took the decision to release the suspect.

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“Where detainees are suspected of ingesting or concealing drugs inside their body, we must balance overseeing their welfare and ensuring that all evidence is captured to ensure the best possible chance of prosecution.”

Mr Chambers allegedly swallowed a package of crack cocaine and heroin while being chased by officers from Essex Police’s Operation Raptor West; the gangs and urban street crime unit for Harlow, Epping Forest, Brentwood and Thurrock.

Police had applied to keep Mr Chambers in custody at seven separate court hearings as they waited for him to empty his bowels or allow doctors to retrieve the package he was suspected of swallowing.

On day 19 of his arrest, officers tweeted: “Male doesn’t seem to understand that eventually he will need/have to go.”

Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court was told Mr Chambers was being kept in a normal prison cell with two police officers with him at all times, and had not been given the privacy to use a toilet. Officers said Mr Chambers was “delaying the inevitable”.

His defence lawyers argued he was “at risk of death”.

Upon Mr Chambers’ release, Essex Police released a statement defending the decision.

“During this time [in custody] he was routinely supplied with food and water, received medical visits every day and comprehensive reports of his state of health were provided to the court at each hearing,” the statement said.

“His health, wellbeing and dignity were paramount at all times. Despite this, nothing was passed by Mr Chambers, who also routinely declined medical treatment and the opportunity to visit hospital.”

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