A policeman has told and inquest how he tried to revive a Birmingham man who died in custody.
Sergeant Russell Tringham gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation until paramedics arrived when he realised that Michael Powell was no longer breathing.
The father-of-three had been arrested following a violent struggle outside his mother’s address in Wilton Road, Lozells, in September 2003, and died shortly after he was taken to Thornhill Road Police Station.
Sgt Tringham, who was a police constable stationed at Walsall Road Police Station at the time, told an inquest that he had been attending to another call when he received an emergency radio message to go to Wilton Road.
When he arrived, he saw Mr Powell, aged 38, on his back, handcuffed with his arms above him, heavily resisting arrest by three police officers.
Sgt Tringham did not assist with the restraint at the point and on orders went looking for missing police equipment for a couple of minutes.
When he returned, six officers helped to reposition the handcuffs behind Mr Powell and a large van had been called to the scene.
Sgt Tringham said he stood outside the van while officers moved Mr Powell, who was now calm and not struggling, head first into the van and placed him on his left side with his face facing the side door.
Sgt Tringham said he was then distracted by the prisoner’s distressed sister as she tried to get past police and to her brother.
He said: “I positioned myself between the officers and her to block her path. At the same time the inspector came over to try to calm her down and reassure her as I was protecting the officers.”
Sgt Tringham then followed the police van in his own car to the station in case there was another struggle and he was needed.
On arrival, he helped carry Mr Powell, who was face down and not resisting or saying anything, by holding the spare fabric of his jeans around the middle of his body.
When they placed him on the cell mattress, he noticed that he wasn’t breathing.
The handcuffs were removed and together with another constable, Sgt Tringham started resuscitating Mr Powell using medical equipment.
He said: “We stopped to check his pulse. I could see his chest rising and continued for 10 to 15 minutes until the paramedics arrived. His condition didn’t improve.”
Mr Powell’s family have thanked Sergeant Tringham’s for his efforts.
The inquest continues.