Sheku Bayoh: Family of man who died in custody to sue police

The 31-year-old died after being restrained by officers in 2015

Alina Polianskaya
Sunday 29 April 2018 23:21 BST
The family of Sheku Bayoh are suing Police Scotland's Acting Chief Constable Iain Livingstone
The family of Sheku Bayoh are suing Police Scotland's Acting Chief Constable Iain Livingstone (PA)

The family of a man who died in police custody are set to start legal proceedings against Scotland's most senior police officer this week, their lawyer has confirmed.

Sheku Bayoh died on 3 May 2015 after being restrained by police officers, in Kirkcaldy, Fife, in Scotland, aged 31.

The family of Mr Bayoh, who was a gas engineer and a father, are suing Police Scotland's Acting Chief Constable Iain Livingstone – they are seeking £2 million in damages, it is understood.

They claim police officers were responsible for the death of Mr Bayoh, who was born in Sierra Leone but had lived in Scotland since he was a teenager.

Their lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said the civil action will be lodged at the Court of Session in Edinburgh before time-barring rules come into effect on Thursday.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) submitted a report into the incident to the Crown Office in August 2016 but prosecutors still need to decide whether or not there should be any criminal proceedings.

His family have previously criticised the length of time taken to investigate his death, and have said in the past that they would call for a public enquiry if police were not prosecuted.

A fatal accident inquiry will be held regardless.

The circumstances surrounding MrBayoh's death have been the subject of much uncertainty, as different parties made different claims.

Police were previously accused by members of Mr Bayoh’s family of using excessive force in restraining him, according to the BBC.

It is understood he was restrained by as many as six police officers with both CS spray and baton, according to reports.

Police previously claimed that they were responding to calls of a man “brandishing a knife” leading officers to fear for their safety when they restrained Mr Bayoh.

But the 31-year-old’s family and lawyer claimed he did not have a knife on him when he was arrested.

The news site added that ecstasy and traces of A-PVP, a psycho-stimulant, were found in his system by a toxicology report.

As the third anniversary of Mr Bayoh’s death approaches, his sister Kadi Johnson, who worked as a nurse in the hospital where her brother was pronounced dead, told the Victoria Derbyshire programme: "We want whoever is responsible to be held responsible.

"This has really changed our lives. Waiting for three years, not knowing how our brother died. It hurts a lot.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that legal papers have been received and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Press Association Scotland contributed to this report.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in