IPCC: Investigation into death of 23-year-old man

The full article can be read here: IPCC Website

14 September 2010

The IPCC is independently investigating the circumstances of the death of 23-year-old Seni Lewis, who had been a patient for a few hours at the Bethlem Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Bromley.

Police officers were called at approximately 9.30pm on Tuesday 31 August 2010 by staff at Bethlem Hospital seeking assistance with a patient who was causing a disturbance. Officers arrived at the hospital a short time later.

Police restrained Mr Lewis at the request of hospital staff. During the restraint Mr Lewis became passive and it then became apparent that he was seriously unwell.

CPR was started and an ambulance was called and Mr Lewis was taken to the Croydon University Hospital (formerly the Mayday Hospital). On Friday 3 September 2010 the first set of brain-stem tests were performed and confirmed brain-stem death. A second set of tests were performed and as a result life support was discontinued on Saturday 4 September 2010.

IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this must be for this young man’s family. The IPCC is looking into the police response to determine whether or not it was proportionate and reasonable in all the circumstances.”

The cause of death was not fully ascertained at the preliminary autopsy and accordingly further investigations, including histology and toxicology are being performed to try to ascertain the cause.

An inquest was opened and adjourned at Croydon Coroner’s Court on Monday 13 September 2010.


Isued by Trish Keville, IPCC Press Officer for London and south east on 0207 166 3130