Inquest jury finds police failings led to death of detained man

Wednesday 3 April 2019

The family of Lee Sparks was represented by Owen Greenhall of the Garden Court Crime and Civil Liberties teams. He was instructed by Lochlinn Parker of ITN Solicitors.

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A jury in the inquest into the death of a man arrested by police found that failures by police officers to pass on information regarding a suspected drugs package led to his death.

Lee Sparks was detained at Tescos on suspicion of shoplifting. Officers arriving at the scene were told about, and saw, a suspected drugs package in his pocket. The jury found that there was a failure to share this information and to communicate with other officers leading to an inadequate search to locate the package. Lee Sparks was therefore able to ingest an ounce of cocaine whilst in police detention which led to his tragic death.

Following the jury’s conclusions, Mr Sparks’ family said:

“Lee was our loving son. He is deeply missed every day by his family and friends. The jury concluded that police officers failed to do their job properly and as a result Lee died. Their conclusion confirms what we have always believed. We hope no other family has to go through what we have suffered over the last three years.”

The case has been reported including BBC and East Anglian Daily Times.

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