Inquest for Muhammedou Mahrie Kinteh concludes restraint contributed to death

Friday 26 April 2024

Christopher Williams of Garden Court Chambers represented the family of Muhammedou Mahrie Kinteh, who was known as ‘Pa’, instructed by Kim Vernal of Taylor Rose Solicitors.

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Pa, a 45-year-old black man died at Royal Bolton Hospital following a restraint by two shopkeepers at Newbury Convenience Store, Bolton on the 3rd May 2018. An inquest has concluded that his death was caused by acute myocardial insufficiency caused by pathological stress, including restraint, interacting with cocaine toxicity and coronary artery atheroma.

CCTV footage from the shop, and witness evidence, revealed that Pa was in an agitated and terrified paranoid state which was completely out of character. This was confirmed by the shopkeepers and customers in the shop that knew Pa.

His family believe that his condition was such that he did not know what he was doing and did not understand the consequences of his actions on that fateful day. His state of agitation was attributed to cocaine due to its metabolites having been found at post mortem, but there was no evidence as to whether he had knowingly taken the drug. At the time of his death, Pa did not have any criminal convictions.

The family of Pa said:

Tragically, Pa’s life was cut short in a heart-breaking incident at the New Berry Convenient store. Those who were fortunate enough to cross paths with Pa knew him as more than just a nice person; he was a pillar of support, a beacon of hope, and a true friend to all. His commitment to helping others extended beyond borders, as he dedicated himself to supporting children in Gambia through a training school for boxing. Pa’s generosity knew no limits, and his legacy of giving continues to uplift and inspire countless lives.

PA was born in Gambia and completed his school education in London. He met his wife Sheena in 1992 and lived together with their four children, two of whom were from Sheena’s previous relationship. Pa was the glue to their extended family, and a figure everyone, including friends, went to for advice. Pa was a caring and generous man, who would take in and treat his family friends as close relatives.

He worked at a Cancer Research Children’s Softy Play Centre and was the main carer for his youngest child. Whilst living in Gambia, between 2015 – 2018, Pa set up a boxing project for children. After returning from Gambia in January, Pa continued teaching boxing to his family and friends. He also cared for his grandchildren.

On the 3rd May 2018, around midday and after collecting his grandchildren, Pa returned home, leaving the children with his wife and went out to Bolton. An hour later, Sheena called Pa, who confirmed he would be coming back, and she did not detect anything unusual.

At around 13:31, Pa entered the Newbury Convenience Store. Customers and the Shopkeepers who knew him gave evidence that he appeared to be acting out of character. The shopkeepers gave evidence to the inquest that he appeared scared, sweating, and fidgety.

He was staring at the entrance doors as if looking out for someone. He stood close to one of the shopkeepers and began asking for help, stating that people were after him and they were going to kill him. Whilst in the shop, he used his phone to call the police, asking them to come to the shop and kept repeating that people were after him and wanted to kill him.

At 13:34, a shopkeeper called 999, repeating what Pa was telling them. At 13:35 Pa went behind the counter and remained close to one of the shopkeepers.

There came a point when Pa threw a glass bottle from behind the counter onto the shop floor. After this, a shopkeeper grabbed Pa by his wrists and pushed Pa down onto the floor under the till, where he was restrained by the wrists for about 12 minutes until the police arrived. The shopkeeper also placed weight on Pa’s foot with his knee. Pa struggled continuously during the restraint.

During this time, a second shopkeeper appeared to have prodded at Pa using a pickaxe handle. The pathologist found that this did not contribute to the cause of death.

At about 13:51 the police arrived at around 13:52, Pa was immediately handcuffed in the front stack position.

Pa was not responding to the police and once in handcuffs it become apparent to the police that he was not breathing. The cuffs were removed and CPR consisting of chest compressions only were commenced by the police at around 13:56.

When paramedics attended, they manged to secure Pa’s airway and commenced ventilation whilst the police continued with the chest compressions. Paramedics established that Pa was in asystole and chest compressions were continued. In the ambulance on the way to hospital, Pa’s circulation returned but he subsequently re-arrested. His circulation returned but he subsequently re-arrested while in hospital.

Whilst in hospital, medical staff continued to work on him, but by 16:15pm it was decided that further efforts were futile, and resuscitation was discontinued. Pa was pronounced dead at 16:36.

Kim, who represented the family, said:

“The significance of the restraint was only acknowledged after our legal team put questions to the pathologists. As a result, the cause of death was changed to include the effect the physical exertion played. In the end the jury had the final word and concluded that the restraint contributed to Pa’s tragic death.”

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