Probe into death of man held in custody in Elland Road, Leeds

West Yorkshire Police's Leeds District Headquarters on Elland Road, Leeds. 11th April 2014. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
West Yorkshire Police's Leeds District Headquarters on Elland Road, Leeds. 11th April 2014. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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An investigation is under way into the death of a 26-year-old man who died three weeks after being held in custody at West Yorkshire Police’s new £34 million district headquarters in Leeds.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said today that it is looking into events during the period Robert Ward spent in custody at Elland Road police station prior to his death on October 28.

According to the IPCC, Mr Ward was arrested on October 7 and taken to the base opposite Leeds United’s ground, which opened in April.

A spokesman said: “While in custody he swallowed unknown substances on three separate occasions. He was twice taken to a hospital in Leeds, where he was examined and received medical attention before being returned to Elland Road police station.

“Mr Ward, 26, was subsequently bailed by the court on 9 October. He was found unconscious and unresponsive on the morning of 10 October. An ambulance was called and he was taken to hospital, where he remained until he died on 28 Oct 2014.

“The IPCC’s independent investigation will examine how Mr Ward was able to retain any substances while in custody, how he managed to take them, whether he was sufficiently supervised and if the necessary risk assessments were conducted.”

He said investigators would be reviewing CCTV from the custody suite and attempting to identify witnesses useful to the investigation.

IPCC Commissioner Kathryn Stone OBE said: “My thoughts are with Mr Ward’s family and friends at this time following his untimely death.

“We will be thoroughly investigating how unauthorised substances came to remain on his person while in custody and the care and supervision he received from West Yorkshire Police.”

“The IPCC investigation is not examining any issues around Mr Ward’s arrest and/or any link between him taking any substances and his death.”

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