A POLICE officer told an inquest of her decision to arrest a man who later cut his own throat in front of his horrified parents.
David Young, 34, who had a history of psychiatric issues, inflicted the fatal injury on himself at his parents’ home in Fennel Grove, South Shields, minutes after being taken there by police
South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney and a jury heard that Mr Young had driven to South Shields Police Station on July 2, 2012 and asked for help with his drug problem.
The father-of-one was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs and was later taken by officers to the home of his parents, Ann and Leslie Young, in the early hours of July 3.
The inquest heard that shortly after arriving, Mr Young, of Dene Mews, Sunderland, cut his own throat with a kitchen knife in front of his parents and was later pronounced dead at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Mr Young had a history of psychiatric problems and amphetamine abuse.
Pc Rachel Tinnion said she was told that Mr Young had arrived in a confused state, said that he had been taking drugs and had driven to the police station.
Pc Tinnion said she took Mr Young to an interview room to speak to someone from health and social care organisation Turning Point and that he was “tearful” and had a “worried look on his face”.
She said: “He said he had taken drugs en route to the police station and that’s why he was there, to seek help for his drug abuse.”
She also said that Mr Young was not aggressive and did not appear to prove a threat to himself or others.
Pc Tinnion said that Mr Young told her he had been taking amphetamine.
She described his arrival at the station as an “unusual event” and said there was a decision to be made over whether to arrest him or take him to South Tyneside District Hospital.
She said: “I couldn’t take him to the hospital because, in my experience, they won’t see people who are intoxicated, and ultimately, it was a potential criminal offence.”
The officer said that she sought advice over the arrest from her colleague and a duty inspector.
She said: “I cautioned and arrested him but sat with him and explained why because he had been so upset. I assured him that he was going to get the help he wanted.”
She said that although she asked for advice, ultimately it was her decision over whether to arrest him or not.
She said: “There were options to take him to hospital or home to be in the care of his family but it comes back to the fact that he’s potentially committed an offence. I have a duty of care but I am a police officer.”
Pc Tinnion also explained that, after Mr Young agreed, she called his mother and arranged for him to be taken to the family home when he was released.
Mr Carney read a statement made by Stacey Leigh, a project worker for Turning Point, who had been working alongside Joanne Mullarkey when she was asked to speak to Mr Young at the station, in Millbank, South Shields.
She said that Mr Young said he wanted support and help for his drug dependency and his mental state.
She said the pair asked Mr Young what mental health issues he thought he had and that he stated he could hear voices.
He also said he thought his family had “had enough” of him and were upset with him.
Ms Leigh said she and Ms Mullarkey spoke to him for around an hour and 15 minutes, and arranged a call to him from the North East Council for Addictions.
The inquest continues today.