Custody death man named
A POLICE watchdog has today vowed to uncover the truth of how a man died in a Suffolk police cell.Norfolk police are today carrying out a probe on behalf of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into how the 51-year-old man died while in custody at Felixstowe police station.
A POLICE watchdog has today vowed to uncover the truth of how a man died in a Suffolk police cell.
Norfolk police are today carrying out a probe on behalf of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into how the 51-year-old man died while in custody at Felixstowe police station.
Neighbours of the man, named locally as Ian Snelling of Manwick Road, off Sea Road, Felixstowe said they were shocked at the news of his death.
They said he was a quiet man who had lived in the assisted housing flats for several years.
One neighbour who did not want to be named said: “Everyone here is very shocked and saddened by Ian's death.
“To suggest he was involved in a theft is completely out of character.
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“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.”
IPCC commissioner David Petch sent his condolences to the man's family and friends.
He said: “They can be assured that the investigation will establish the facts of what happened.
“IPCC investigators were deployed to the scene to provide an assessment .
“I have decided to manage the investigation which will be undertaken by an external force and managed by the IPCC.”
As revealed in the Evening Star on Saturday Suffolk police had arrested Mr Snelling on suspicion of theft at a premises in Felixstowe town centre at around 11.30am on Friday and taken him to the High Road station.
While Mr Snelling 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 that the man had blood coming from his nose.
Although a post mortem has now been carried out it is yet to be revealed how the man died. He will not be named by the IPCC until they have spoken to his family.
A spokesman for the IPCC said that a death in a police cell means that it is mandatory that an investigation will be undertaken by an external force, managed by the IPCC but does not necessarily mean that Suffolk Police have done anything wrong.
Suffolk police have now handed full control of the investigation over to their neighbouring force.
The spokesman said: “I think that the IPCC managing that will dispel any public concern there may be.
“We are not saying that anything wrong happened,
“There is a public confidence issue to address. The Norfolk police will be able to do the investigation on our behalf.”
He added that in a week or so the investigation may be downgraded depending on what was revealed.
It is not known how long the investigation will take as witnesses have to be interviewed, forensic and pathology tests have to be carried out along with the possible viewing of CCTV.
He said: “Everything from the time the man came into initial contact to his time in custody will be looked into to make sure things were done correctly.”
He was unable to say whether a police van cordoned off outside the Felixstowe police station on Saturday morning was part of the investigation.
n Do you know the man involved? Contact the Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788.