A vulnerable man with a history of self-harm died outside a police station after being allowed to sleep in the building's foyer, an inquest heard.
Leon Laga, 24, was found with a cigarette in one hand and a lighter in the other outside Kidderminster police station on January 15 2005, Worcestershire Coroner's Court was told.
Giving evidence on the first day of the inquest, Sergeant Mark Wilkes said Mr Laga, who died of a drugs overdose, had been given permission to sleep near the front counter of the station.
The officer also disclosed that Mr Laga had been permitted to sleep inside the police station a few weeks before his death.
On that occasion, Sgt Wilkes said, police had been called to a dispute at the home Mr Laga shared with his parents.
Explaining why he had decided to allow Mr Laga to sleep in the foyer after the first incident, the officer told the court: "There was no reason to consider detaining him under the Mental Health Act and he hadn't committed any criminal offences."
The court heard that late on the day before Mr Laga was found dead, he went to Kidderminster police station after arguing with his mother.
After Sgt Wilkes agreed to his request to sleep in the foyer overnight, Mr Laga, who was from Kidderminster, was given a drink of hot chocolate by another officer.
"At that time I didn't have any concerns other than where we should allow him to stay," Sgt Wilkes recalled. "In my opinion there was nowhere else that he could go. I had no specific concerns about his mental health situation."
Sgt Wilkes said he had suggested that Mr Laga, who had more than £300 in cash, stay in a hotel but that he had rejected the idea.
"His preference, and he was very insistent, was that he stay at the front counter of the police station as he had done before," the officer added.
Mr Laga's body was found in a sitting position at the base of a column at about 8am by a worker arriving at the police station.
The inquest, which is scheduled to last at least five days, was adjourned until Tuesday.