Police praised for their efforts to save grandfather Stewart Anderson outside nightclub
Police officers who fought to save a grandfather's life after a night out ended in tragedy have been praised for their efforts by the official watchdog.
Stewart Anderson, 54, died in hospital in July 2016, following an incident outside the Loveshack nightclub, Walkergate, Durham, in the early hours of that morning.
A video clip from the CCTV of the Walkergate complex shown as part of the evidence has been released after the close of the hearing.
It shows another man being removed from the bar, while police are called in to help in the efforts to save Mr Anderson, who cannot be seen and is on the ground.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has now released the findings of its investigation into Mr Anderson's death.
"As part of our investigation, we analysed CCTV and body worn footage of the incident, reviewed police radio transmissions, took statements from an independent witness and interviewed the officers directly involved," said an IOPC statement.
"At around 1am, two police constables (PC) attended the nightclub following reports of a disturbance. The officers arrived to find two men being detained by door staff who told the officers that the men had been acting violently towards nightclub staff.
"One of the men, Stewart Anderson, was laying on his front when the officers arrived. PC Dawn Lee handcuffed Mr Anderson, but on rolling him over realised he had stopped breathing, so she immediately began to administer CPR and radioed for assistance.
"PC Lee had attended with PC Amy Nicholson who attempted to remove the handcuffs but wasn’t able to while Mr Anderson was laid on his back. Following the call for support, PC Victoria Atkinson arrived and used a defibrillator to try and revive Mr Anderson, she was also able to get one hand free from the handcuffs before paramedics attended.
"PC Brendan Jackson also attended the scene and both he, and a member of the public, administered chest compressions whilst they waited for the ambulance.
"The pathologist who carried out the post mortem said the CPR was effective and PC Lee was correct in trying to resuscitate Mr Anderson before removing the handcuffs."IOPC regional director Miranda Biddle said: "It is very clear from the evidence we gathered that the police officers who attended the scene that night did everything in their power to try and save Mr Anderson’s life. There is no indication that any of the officers involved breached the standards of behaviour expected of them; in fact the officers performed their duties to a high standard in very difficult circumstances.
"As soon as the officers became aware that Mr Anderson wasn’t breathing they began to administer CPR and called for urgent medical assistance. In this kind of dynamic situation every second counts and PC Lee’s decision to start CPR before removing the handcuffs was vindicated by the pathologist.
"Whenever someone dies following contact with the police, it is our role to ensure public confidence by independently investigating the circumstances, and now that the inquest has concluded we can publish our findings. Our thoughts remain with Mr Anderson’s family and friends and all those affected by this sad incident."
A Durham Constabulary spokesman said: "Firstly, we would like to express our sincere condolences to Mr Anderson’s family and friends.
"Our officers who attended the scene that night did all they could to try to save Mr Anderson’s life in extremely testing circumstances and the independent IOPC investigation has rightly praised their professionalism and their decision making.
"The events at Loveshack were subject to a thorough police investigation and a file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, who concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring a successful prosecution."