25 June 1997

Deborah Coles, Co director of INQUEST who arranged legal representation for the family of Peter Austin today commented on the unanimous jury verdict that ‘lack of care’ had contributed to the ‘accidental death’ of 30 year old Peter Austin who was left hanging for up to 10 minutes in a cell at Brentford magistrates court because Securicor staff believed he was feigning.

“We call upon the new Government to review as a matter of urgency the use of privatised security firms. The inquest has highlighted a cruel and callous indifference to a man in desperate need of care and humanity from those staff responsible for his care and welfare.”

“The inquest has exposed grossly inadequate training of Securicor staff both in basic first aid and in suicide prevention. Staff displayed a lack of professionalism and humanity in their dealings with Mr Austin with the result that he died in these most appalling circumstances.”

“We remain disgusted by the complacent attitude of Securicor over this death. They have had no inquiry into this death whatsoever and no action has been taken to ensure that such a tragedy could not be repeated.“