A coroner has blasted the IPCC after the police watchdog’s delays caused a postponement to an inquest into the death of Istiak Yusuf.
Mr Yusuf, 25, of Purley Centre, Luton, was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence just after 8.45am on Saturday, June 13, but within hours “fell ill” and died at Luton Police Station.
A three day inquest into the death was due to be held on 15, 16 and 17 December, but as a final IPCC report has not yet been completed the hearing has been delayed until May.
At a pre-inquest hearing held in Ampthill this morning, IPCC representative Rachel Patching told senior coroner Tom Osborne and the Yusuf family that the report is still being drafted.
When asked for an explanation about the delay, she said: “It has been around six months which in terms of IPCC investigations is a short amount of time.
“The report is at the end stages of draft so once that has been completed it will be sent on to the review process and the approval process.
“I still haven’t had the report from the pathologist, which isn’t an ideal situation.”
Ms Patching said that the report would be ready for early December, but objections were raised that this would not allow enough time for full disclosure prior to the planned inquest date.
Mr Osborne slammed the delay, telling Ms Patching that he would write to the IPCC commissioner and Home Secretary Theresa May.
He said: “I really do not understand the processes of the IPCC and I do not understand why it has taken so long.
“It is a straighforward matter...I am extremely disappointed.”
He added: “I would like a full explanation why this has not been completed in time, it is not fair for the family.”
Mr Osborne rejected any notion that the inquest would go ahead before a final IPCC report has been completed, telling a Beds Police representative: “Simply the answer is no”.
Fiona Murphy, representing the Yusufs, registered her concerns that if the inquest did go ahead in December there would not be enough time to prepare for a three day inquest a week or two later.
She said: “It is a concern that we may make submissions to you on what are actually the central matters.
“We haven’t had any disclosure and the family’s concerns are to be shaped by that disclosure.”
Mr Osborne set the revised date for the inquest to 3, 4 and 5 May.
Concluding the pre-inquest hearing, he offered an “unreserved apology” to the Yusuf family for the delays.
> At a previous pre-inquest review it was heard that Mr Yusuf, an IT recruitment consultant, was compliant with the arrest and that on his arrival at Luton Police Station he advised officers that the he had been “out drinking until 2am in the morning”.
It was said that Mr Yusuf was checked on at 11.35am and found “in order” but at 11.55am his condition concerned officers and an alarm was raised.
The following day a post mortem found no suspicious injuries and the only marks present were bruising to Mr Yusuf’s mouth and chest, consistent with resuscitation efforts.
A second pre-inquest review in August heard that a paramedic found a ‘package with substances in it’ as he attended Mr Yusuf in his cell.
Six Beds Police officers remain under investigation over the adequacy of searches which were carried out at the police station on Buxton Road, Luton.
Three constables and two sergeants have been served misconduct notices.
A custody detention officer has also been served with a gross misconduct notice in respect of a check conducted on Mr Yusuf during his time in custody.