11 March 1997

10am Cardiff Coroner's Court Cardiff Central Police Station

Gary Allsop died on 5 July 1995 after collapsing in the foyer of Fairwater Police Station in Cardiff. He had been hit over the head with the US style baton 20 minutes previously by PC Malcolm Bennett whilst being held by two other officers during the course of his arrest. Gary had been involved in a scuffle with police officers after a row with his family when he had thrown a brick through a window.

In June 1996 the Crown Prosecution Service announced that an officer would be charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was subsequently bought to trial in November 1996 and acquitted.

INQUEST have expressed concerns about the training of officers in the use of these new batons particularly in light of the deaths of Brian Douglas in April 1995 and Gary Allsop in July 1995. Section 3 of the Criminal Justice Act expects law enforcement officials to use reasonable force in life threatening circumstances to alleviate such a threat. Gary Allsop was being restrained by other officers when he received the blow to his head. According to Inspector Peter Boatman, one of the country's top experts on the side-handled baton, police officers undergoing training before being allowed to carry the new batons receive specific instructions as to body areas that must be avoided - areas where blows could cause permanent injury or even death - such as the head.

As there is no legal aid for representation at inquests, INQUEST has arranged for the family to be represented at the inquest by Rhys Morgan. Their solicitor Marilyn Bishop will also be attending. The inquest is listed for two days.