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CCTV footage of grandfather moments after he died in back of police van
A GRIEVING family has made a "heartbreaking decision" to release CCTV footage of a grandfather moments after he died in the back of a police van.
Relatives of Lenny McCourt said they have taken the difficult decision to release the footage, which shows the inaction of officers who waited nine minutes before attempting to revive him.
The family say they are aggrieved that an officer involved in his arrest was allowed to keep his job following a disciplinary hearing by Durham Police - and another did not face action after leaving the force.
Mr McCourt’s sister-in-law Tracey McCourt said: "I don't understand he could be allowed him to keep his job. We feel really let down.
“After long consideration we have made the heartbreaking decision to release CCTV footage so members of the public to make their own judgement.”
An inquest jury ruled last November that the 44-year-old had died during the short journey from his home in Ash Crescent, Seaham, to Peterlee Police Station. He had been pepper sprayed during his arrest.
The jury found he had died of a heart disease precipitated by the stress of the events of the day and excess alcohol and ruled his death was by misadventure.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission detailed a catalogue of failures by police, including officers waiting about nine minutes before trying to resuscitate Mr McCourt.
PC Richard Clark, of Durham Police, was given a final written warning after a disciplinary panel found his actions on the day Mr McCourt died constituted gross misconduct.
Mrs McCourt said: “The CCTV shows it took over five minutes before they took the cuffs off and more than nine minutes after his arrival before they lie him on his back and start doing any form of CPR.”
She added: “Special Constable Jeanette Horlock, who should have faced the same charge resigned.
“Durham Constabulary needs to put policies in place to prevent officers from resigning in cases like this.”
Mrs McCourt added: “It was our request that proceedings did not go ahead against the custody sergeant Jack Clark, because of his honesty and candour at the inquest.”
A police spokesman said the inquest found no officer had acted unlawfully.
The force’s head of professional standards, Superintendent Darren Ellis said: “Since this tragic event we have reviewed our policies and procedures regarding the safe transportation of people taken into custody.
“We have also looked at our policies and procedures for ensuring all relevant officers and staff continue to receive appropriate first aid and refresher training.”