A police inspector “knowingly lied” at the inquest of a man who died following a cardiac arrest while in custody, a misconduct hearing has been told.Temporary Inspector Justin French was the duty incident manager at Yeovil police station when James Herbert, 25, was brought into custody in June 2010.Mr Herbert had been detained under the Mental Health Act, in Wells city centre.Mr French said his account reflected his “honest belief of what happened”.The misconduct hearing at Portishead police headquarters was told Mr French initially recorded in his pocket notebook that he had heard through his radio, Mr Herbert “shouting” in the police van.’Violent and volatile’But in three later accounts, made “incorrectly and dishonestly”, he claimed he heard Mr Herbert “shouting, screaming and kicking out in the police van” and being “violent and volatile” during the journey.The data recovery engineer, who had taken the NRG-1 drug, was restrained before being left naked in his police cell, where he was later found unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at Yeovil District Hospital.Opening the case against Mr French, Robert Talalay said the experienced officer and former Royal Marine had “knowingly lied” to the coroner in a statement and in evidence.He said Mr French was at the police station when the former public schoolboy was brought in and his knowledge of his behaviour came from what he overheard on the radio and from other officers. ‘In shock’Mr French’s first account is not alleged to be incorrect or exaggerated, unlike the later accounts, Mr Talalay told the hearing.He said: “There’s no way he could have provided accurately that Mr Herbert was kicking, head banging and screaming as he does in these later accounts because that information would not have been available to him at the time.”These later accounts were provided knowingly incorrectly and dishonestly.”T/Insp French told the hearing he was “in shock” when he wrote the 14-page account in his pocket notebook and expected to be asked to provide a further account.”In my mind I wanted to give early disclosure for the benefit of the family. I was just recording it as I saw it,” he added.The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.
Source: BBC Somerset