Prisoner died in police cell - inquest told

West Yorkshire Police's Leeds District Headquarters on Elland Road.
West Yorkshire Police's Leeds District Headquarters on Elland Road.

A prisoner died in a police cell between checks by officers – just hours after leaving hospital.

Alcoholic Adam Rice suffered heart failure after being arrested and detained at the new Elland Road police station in Leeds on May 12, 2014.

An inquest in Wakefield heard on Monday how the homeless 46-year-old had been taken to Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) with a suspected head injury the previous day after being found asleep under a ramp at Hyde Park skate park.

But he refused to have a scan and discharged himself that evening, at which point he was arrested for failing to answer bail over an allegation of theft and taken to Elland Road police station.

Mr Rice, who also suffered from schizophrenia, diabetes and angina, was put in a cell subject to half hourly checks by officers at the station, the inquest heard.

He was spoken to at 6.48am the following morning, but when officers returned at 7.02am he was dead.

The inquest heard Mr Rice’s heart failed as a result of a dissection of the aorta vessel, probably as a result of high blood pressure.

The jury heard from PCSO Samantha Hughes, who had called colleagues to carry out the arrest the previous day during her regular beat at LGI.

She said she was unaware Mr Rice had discharged himself against medical advice.

Asked if she would have raised that with the arresting officer if she had known, she said: “I would have mentioned that, but I didn’t hear it.”

Custody sergeant Nicholas Atkinson, who organised the “rouse and respond” checks at the police station, said if he had been aware Mr Rice had an untreated head injury he would have sent him back to hospital.

In a statement, Mr Rice’s adoptive parents, who now live in Cyprus, said: “We are just so glad he is now in a better place.

“God bless you son, rest in peace.”

The inquest continues.