THE devastated family of a grandfather hope to begin to get answers as to how he died in police custody.
Lenny McCourt, pictured, was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly outside his home in Ash Crescent, Seaham, and was taken to Peterlee Police Station, where he was declared dead.
Now, more than two years on, his loved ones are preparing to seek answers about what happened as the inquest opens today before a jury in Crook.
It is expected to last more than two weeks and will hear from officers involved – who have not faced criminal charges – relatives, witnesses, medical experts and an inquiry carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission
As they prepare for the hearing, Lenny’s grieving family have spoken about the hard-working, quiet and devoted 44-year-old. Sister-in-law Tracey, 46, said: “We were absolutely devastated. Never in a million years would we think anything like this would happen.
“Not in this day and age would you imagine somebody would be arrested and be dead an hour later.
“We hope it will never happen again and we want lessons to be learnt from it.”
Former Northlea pupil Lenny lived on Seaham’s Parkside Estate all his life and worked as a roofer with Tracey’s husband Gene, 49, for a decade.
As a hobby he restored Land Rovers and worked on them at a garage in Murton.
He also enjoyed body building in his spare time.
He was dad to Launzie, 21, and Toni, 26, and grandfather to her son Reece, six, and also brother to Launzie, 56, Janette, 54, John, 53, and Tish, 43.
The family faced more heartache last month when Lenny’s brother Dave, 52, died in a motorbike accident in North Yorkshire.
Tracey, who lives in Eastlea and works as a cleaner, said of Lenny: “He absolutely idolised his family.
“They were so close it’s unbelievable, and good friends to each other.
“He was very quiet, good and honest and very well liked.”