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£450,000 settlement for bereaved family in claim against Devon and Cornwall Police for restraint death

Friday 21 May 2021

The Claimants were represented by Ifeanyi Odogwu of the Garden Court Chambers Civil Liberties Team, instructed by Broudie Jackson Canter.

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The family of a man who died under restraint by officers at Devon and Cornwall Police brought a claim under the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Fatal Accident Act 1976, following a damning jury verdict at an inquest. Ifeanyi Odogwu represented the family at the inquest and in the civil action.

LDD was a middle-aged husband and father. After having drinks in a pub in Devon with a relative, he was assaulted by door supervisors. Police attended the incident and restrained LDD in a semi-prone position, applying rear handcuffs. LDD subsequently collapsed. He did not recover and tragically died a few days later. An inquest jury found his restraint prevented adequate oxygen intake and criticised the manner and duration of his restraint and lack of sufficient monitoring.

The Fatal Accident Act 1976 claim involved highly contentious expert evidence. There were significant disputes on LDD’s life expectancy, with competing evidence from leaders in the field of cardiology, and on the loss of earnings.

Ifeanyi also secured the bulk of the settlement being apportioned to the surviving spouse at the approval hearing. The court took a pragmatic approach, ensuring the family were in a position to spend the money appropriately, replacing the services and income formerly provided by LDD, and the surviving spouse would have ready access to funds for use in childcare without the need for applications to the court.

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