Kent: Police Not At Fault Over Pensioner's Death

17 January 2014, 19:00 | Updated: 17 January 2014, 19:03

Police officers' actions did not contribute to the death of an elderly man who died after being arrested following a road crash, the police watchdog has said.

James Boland, 70, from Canterbury, Kent, died at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital on September 24 - the day after being involved in the crash.

Police called to the collision found Mr Boland already sat in an ambulance and refusing to go to hospital, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.

Officers arrested him on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent, driving without a licence and driving whilst disqualified. He was not handcuffed or removed from the ambulance.

Mr Boland was taken by ambulance to hospital, with a police car following behind, and officers stayed at the hospital where Mr Boland died.

A referral from Kent Police to the IPCC was made, and an inquiry by the watchdog was concluded last month, but the results delayed pending the outcome of an inquest.

The inquest, held on January 16, recorded a verdict of natural causes.

The IPCC has now disclosed its conclusion that Kent Police officers had minimal contact with Mr Boland and that there "was no indication that the contact contributed to his death''.

IPCC commissioner Mary Cunneen said: "Even though he was not held at a police station, Mr Boland was in police detention at the time of his death, therefore the police had a statutory duty to refer this matter to the IPCC, which initiated an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding police contact prior to his death.

"Our investigation concluded that Kent Police officers had minimal contact with Mr Boland before he died and their involvement did not contribute to his death.

"This was a sad incident and my condolences go to Mr Boland's family.''