Investigation complete on dad found dead in police cell

External view of Washington Police Station.
External view of Washington Police Station.
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INVESTIGATIONS into the death of a dad-of-three in a police cell have been completed.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission last year launched an inquiry into the sudden death of Stephen Berry.

Mr Berry died in the early hours of Saturday, March 30, last year, after being held at Washington Police Station.

Following the 43-year-old’s death, questions were asked over the circumstances leading to the tragedy.

Today, a spokesman for the IPCC said: “We have completed our investigation, but this will not be made available until an inquest has been held.”

Mr Berry was arrested at his home in Easington Lane on Thursday, March 28, last year, after he did not turn up for an appearance before Gateshead Magistrates’ Court, where he was to face a charge of possessing an offensive weapon.

He was put in a cell at Washington Police station and, as a matter of routine, was seen by doctors who work on behalf of the force.

He was due to appear in court on Saturday, March 30.

At 11.39pm on the Friday, concerned for his well-being, an ambulance was called to Washington Police Station at the request of a doctor.

During this time, Mr Berry’s condition worsened and another 999 call was made. At 1am on the Saturday, he was pronounced dead on arrival at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead.

A spokeswoman for Gateshead Coroner’s Office, said: “There is currently no date set for the inquest.”

Northumbria Police Chief Supereminent Kay Blyth, from Sunderland Area Command, has been co-operating with the IPCC during their investigation.

Mr Berry’s death came just a week after Martin Leck, 34, died after being held in a South Tyneside police cell.

In 2003, Martin Dakers, 17, died in a cell at Washington police station after he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly.