20 December 2017

Investigations have opened into the death of Nuno Cardoso, a 25-year-old law student from Kentish Town who died following arrest on 24 November 2017 in Oxford. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has begun an independent investigation, and the Coroner opened and adjourned an inquest on 12 December 2017. Nuno is the fifth black man to die following restraint by police officers in 2017 in the UK.

Nuno grew up in North London but had moved to Oxford in September to start a law course at college. He was bright, liked a good debate, and was excited about his future. He told his family of his ambition to be the “best lawyer in the country.” He was a big fan of Arsenal Football Club and enjoyed cooking for his family. He was happy and popular, and his family are devastated by his sudden death. They have been touched by the memorials that have been held for him.

The family have met with the IPCC and are being provided with updates. They have been informed that Nuno was arrested in the early hours of 24 November by officers of Thames Valley Police, and that restraint was used during the course of that arrest. Nuno reportedly appeared to suffer a deterioration in his health while being transported to a police station. Medical assistance was apparently provided by police officers and paramedics, but Nuno sadly died at the John Radcliffe Hospital later that day.

Nuno’s family welcome the information that the IPCC has shared with them. However, they still have many questions and hope that thorough investigations will be carried out. His death came weeks after the much delayed publication of the Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody, and is the first custody death we are aware of since then.

Doroteia dos Santos, Nuno’s mother said: “The number of deaths in police custody, particularly of young black men, makes me worried that something is wrong. I have so many questions about how this could have happened to my son. Police officers are meant to be trained to notice if people are unwell and to ensure that they can keep people in their custody safe. I trust that there will be a thorough investigation, and I believe that any failures can be found out and the people responsible held to account. I just want justice for my son.”

Ruth Mellor of Saunders Law, who is representing the family said, “It is vital that there is a thorough investigation. Any concerns that might come to light around the actions or omissions of the police officers or paramedics involved in these events should be robustly examined to ensure proper accountability and justice. Mr Cardoso’s family must be allowed to properly engage in these investigations; their concerns must be addressed, and their questions answered.”

Deborah Coles, director of INQUEST said: “It is despairing that we end the year with yet another restraint related death of a black man, who died less than a month after the publication of the Angiolini review. Enough is enough. That young black men are dying with such regularity shows that this is a systemic problem that needs urgent attention.”



For further information, please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or here.

The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Ruth Mellor of Saunders Law.

  • Nuno’s death came less than a month after the government belatedly published the Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody by Dame Elish Angiolini QC, the first ever review of its kind.
  • In 2017 alone we are aware of the following restraint related deaths of black men:
    • 21 June - Edson Da Costa, 25, black male, died in Newham, East London following restraint by police six days earlier.
    • 19 July - Darren Cumberbatch, 32, black male, died in Nuneaton, Warwickshire following restraint by police.
    • 15 July - Shane Bryant, 29, black male, died in Leicestershire following restraint by members of public and police two days earlier.
    • 23 July 2017 - Rashan Charles, 20, black male, died in Hackney following restraint by police.
    • And now Nuno Cardoso.