3 May 2019

Before HM Senior Coroner Nadia Persaud
Coroner for the Eastern Area of Greater London
The Coroner Court, Queens Road, Walthamstow E17 8QP

Opens Tuesday 7 May, expected to continue to 4 June 2019

Edir Frederico Da Costa, known as Edson to his friends, was 25 when he was stopped by police in Beckton, East London on 15 June 2017. During this stop by Metropolitan Police officers, he swallowed a package and was restrained, handcuffed and CS spray was deployed.  Edson became unconscious and was taken to hospital. He did not regain consciousness and died six days later on 21 June 2017.

Edson was one of four black men to die following restraint by police in just five weeks in 2017. Given that official statistics on use of force and deaths in police contact show a long-term pattern of disproportionate use of force against black men, these deaths led to significant public concern.

Edson was born in Portugal and had lived in London since he was four years old. Edson was a loving father and partner. He was very close to his family who describe him as generous, loving and resilient. He loved to eat sweets, to dance with friends and family, and had a passion for fixing things. Edson volunteered with Street League, a sports coaching company that helps to coach children aged 8 to 11 year olds in football. He was awarded a Sports Leadership Award for his work with them.

The inquest will explore issues relating to Edson’s death including the lawfulness of force used against Edson including in the use of restraint and CS spray; and steps taken by officers present to safely manage and protect Edson’s health and welfare.

Edson’s family said: “Though Edson’s life was cut short following contact with the police, he lived an incredibly fulfilling life, making the most of each day that he had. We are incredibly proud of the person that he was and our lives will never be the same without him. As a family, we have been left with so many unanswered questions. We are desperate for the truth and hope that this inquest will provide the answers that we need.”

Victoria McNally, Senior Caseworker at INQUEST, said: “In the summer of 2017, many were deeply disturbed by the deaths of two young black men following restraint by police, just a few miles and five weeks apart. Rashan Charles and then Edson da Costa. Against a backdrop of statistics consistently showing the disproportionate use of police force against black men, Edson’s family and the public look to this inquest to scrutinise all aspects of the police conduct surrounding his tragic death.”


For further information, photographs and to note your interest, please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or email. 

INQUEST has been working with the family of Edson da Costa since shortly after his death. The family are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members, Susie Labinjoh, Brid Doherty and Cormac McDonough of Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors, and Henrietta Hill QC and Samuel Jacobs of Doughty Street Chambers.

Other interested persons represented at this inquest are the Metropolitan Police, the five plain clothed officers, London Ambulance Service and the IOPC.

Family run ‘Justice 4 Edson’ campaign pages can be found on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Deaths in custody and use of force statistics:

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) most recent annual statistics on deaths during or following police contact in England and Wales, published on 25 July 2018 showed:

  • There were 23 deaths in or following police custody, the highest figure recorded in the past 14 years, and an increase of nine since last year.
  • Four people who died in or following police custody were detained under the Mental Health Act.
  • Seventeen of the people who died in or following police custody or other contact, including Edson, were restrained or had force used against them by the police or others before their deaths.
  • 12 of the 23 people who died in or following police custody had mental health concerns.

See the INQUEST media release for more information.

Since the end of the IOPC statistics reporting period on 31 March 2018, INQUEST casework and monitoring has recorded a further nine deaths in or following police contact. Of these deaths, seven were in police custody, one was a shooting and one was following police pursuit. See INQUEST rolling statistics.

In December 2018, the Home Office published the first national statistics on police use of force (April 2017-March 2018). Black people were overrepresented, as subject in 12% of incidents but representing only 3.3% of the general population. See INQUEST media release for more information.

In October 2017 the landmark Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody by Dame Elish Angiolini QC was published. In December 2018, the Home Office published a report on progress on deaths in police custody.

Angiolini’s review found that police practice must recognise that all restraint can cause death and made a series of recommendations on the use of force and restraint more broadly. She also made recommendations on institutional racism, as well as on intoxicated subjects. The progress report by the Government does not mention any progress on these important recommendations, despite commitments in their original response to the review.

Restraint related deaths of black men:

In 2017, as well as Edson INQUEST are aware of the following restraint related deaths of black men, three of whom died within four weeks of Edson’s death:

  • 19 July 2017 - Darren Cumberbatch, 32, died in Nuneaton, Warwickshire following restraint by police.
  • 15 July 2017 - Shane Bryant, 29, died in Leicestershire following restraint by members of public and police two days earlier.
  • 22 July 2017 - Rashan Charles, 20, died in Hackney, East London following restraint by police.
  • 24 November 2017 - Nuno Cardoso, 25, died in Oxford following restraint by police.

The following year, on 3 March 2018, Kevin Clarke, 35, black man experiencing mental ill health died in Lewisham, South London, following restraint by police officers.


Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.