9th May 2011

10 am Tuesday 10 May 2011 before HM Coroner for Gwent District, David Bowen, sitting at Newport Civic Centre, Newport, South Wales, NP20 4UR

The inquest into the death of Andrew Sheppard will start on Tuesday 10 May 2011. It is listed for three weeks.

Andrew Sheppard died on 1 October 2006.  The previous day he had been taken by police to Newport Police Station and held in a police cell as a ‘place of safety’ under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Police involvement followed calls for urgent help from Andrew’s family following attempted drugs overdoses. Andrew was held at Newport Police Station overnight. On the morning of 1 October he was rushed by ambulance to the Royal Gwent Hospital suffering breathing difficulties, where he was pronounced dead later that day.

It is hoped that the inquest will examine the following:

(i)   Whether Andrew should have been transferred to hospital for a medical assessment of his overdose risk.

(ii)  Whether an appropriate adult should have been contacted for Andrew.

(iii) Whether adequate risk assessments and searches were carried out by custody staff before placing Andrew in a cell.

(iv) Whether adequate checks were conducted on Andrew in the cell.

  1. Whether Andrew should have been taken to a hospital or other more suitable place of safety rather than to a police cell.
  2. The care Andrew received in custody, in particular:
  3. Whether police staff had sufficient training in relation to the treatment and care of detainees under PACE and the Mental Health Act.

Victoria McNally, caseworker at INQUEST, said:

Andrew was a vulnerable young man whose family turned to the police as a last resort, believing that they would keep Andrew safe pending his assessment under the Mental Health Act. They hope that all the circumstances of Andrew’s death will now be scrutinised and lessons learned.

Andrew Sheppard’s family is being represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Paul Bowen of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors.

Notes to editors:

The Sheppard family or their representatives will not be making any comment to the media during the course of the inquest proceedings.