Cell tragedy man due for anxiety course

A MAN who died in a police cell at Felixstowe was about to start an anxiety management course, it was revealed today.Ian Snelling was in custody at the town's police station after being arrested for theft, when he collapsed and died.

A MAN who died in a police cell at Felixstowe was about to start an anxiety management course, it was revealed today.

Ian Snelling was in custody at the town's police station after being arrested for theft, when he collapsed and died.

The 51-year-old lived in a small one-bed flat in Manwick Road, just off the seafront in Felixstowe.

The flats, which have a kitchen, bedroom, lounge and bathroom, are owned by Suffolk Heritage Housing and managed by leading national charity Together: Working for Wellbeing, which supports 3,500 people around the country with mental health needs.

To live in the flats, occupants must be between 18 and 65 and have mental health needs. They are helped by staff from the charity to learn daily living skills so they can look after themselves and, hopefully within a couple of years, move into housing association accommodation.

Staff visit the people at the flats daily or weekly depending on their needs, and can offer help with budgeting, filling in forms, attending medical appointments, finding educational opportunities and social activities. Residents do their own cooking and washing.

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Project manager Jacquelyn Smith did not wish to speak about Mr Snelling.

However neighbours said they were “very shocked and saddened” at Mr Snelling's death.

One said: “He was a very nice man, quiet but always spoke and passed the time of day. It is very sad.”

Another said: “To suggest he was involved in a theft is completely out of character.

“No-one knows what happened and it is right that this matter is thoroughly investigated. I am sure all the facts will come out in due course.”

Workers at the Caretaker's House, East Suffolk MIND's centre for mental wellbeing just two doors from the police station, said Mr Snelling had been due to start an anxiety management course at the centre.

Officers from Norfolk police are carrying out an investigation into his death on behalf of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The investigation team is interviewing all the officers who were involved in the arrest of Mr Snelling and his processing and care at the police station in High Road West, as well as other witnesses and family.

It is not known how long the investigation will take. Forensic and pathology tests have to be carried out along with the possible viewing of CCTV.

Police arrested Mr Snelling on suspicion of theft at a premises in Felixstowe town centre around 11.30am on Friday. While he was in custody awaiting questioning officers became concerned for his welfare and at around 1.15pm paramedics were called.

Despite desperate attempts to revive the man he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A spokesman from the East of England Ambulance Service said he had blood coming from his nose.

Although a post mortem has now been carried out it is yet to be revealed how he died.

Do you want to pay tribute to Mr Snelling? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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