Luton Police Station death: Istiak Yusuf hailed as ‘genuine and quality’ person

Istiak Yusuf, 25, died whilst being held at Luton Police Station on Saturday
Istiak Yusuf, 25, died whilst being held at Luton Police Station on Saturday

A Luton father-of-one who died in police custody was a “genuine and quality” person, according to his employer.

Istiak Yusuf, 25, was arrested at his Marsh Farm home in Purley Centre on suspicion of domestic violence at 8.45am on Saturday morning.

Police say that after being detained at Luton Police Station the 25-year-old IT recruitment consultant “became ill” and died in his cell.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission probe has been launched to establish what occurred during the detainment.

Mr Yusuf’s family say that the 25-year-old did not suffer from any medical conditions and a preliminary post mortem has proved inconclusive.

The results of a toxicology test are now due.

Speaking exclusively to the Luton News, Mr Yusuf’s employer Patrick Lawrence said that the 25-year-old was a role model to new staff at his IT recruitment firm e-Recruiter,

Mr Lawrence said: “It was such a pleasure to work with him as he was very positive and had a great work attitude.

“He had a passion for his work and he was very good at it, due to his work ethic you would use him as a role model for new starters.

“What happened has ruined us all and has made a big impact on the business.

“I met with Istiak’s family and they are quality, they have a son to be proud of.”

Since joining the Jansel House based company in February Mr Yusuf impressed his superiors.

Mr Lawrence said: “We have three companies here and all three wanted him to work for them, everyone knew he was going to be a star.

“When he joined I set the password on his computer to ‘Future1’ as that is just how I saw him.

“He was only with us a short time but he was already overachieving in the job and was a star performer.”

Attiq Malik, speaking on behalf of Mr Yusuf’s family, said that the death came as a “massive shock”.

He added: “Mr Yusuf was arrested shortly before 9am on Saturday morning and within a couple of hours he passed out in the cell.

“Emergency services were called and he was pronounced dead there.

“We still don’t know exactly what happened as the IPCC have secured the area and that restricts access to CCTV and other things.

“No-one was aware of any previous medical conditions and it comes as a massive shock.

“This could be innocent and a coincidence but I know the people of Luton are extremely concerned about this given what happened with Leon Briggs.

“At this stage the family just want answers.”

Mr Yusuf’s death comes 18 months after father-of-two Leon Briggs died while being detained at the station under the Mental Health Act.

Following Saturday’s incident the IPCC is waiting on Mr Yusuf’s confirmed cause of death, which will inform the lines on enquiry it pursues.

Nonetheless campaigners have called for a public enquiry to scrutinise the day-to-day practises at Luton Police Station.

Beds Police deputy chief constable Jon Boutcher, who will temporarily step up as chief constable from June 26, has said that “there is nothing to suggest” police involvement in the death of Mr Yusuf.

He added: “Our thoughts are with the family at this sad time and we will do all we can to co-operate with the investigation and help provide the family, the coroner and the IPCC with accurate information about how and why he tragically died.

“Without prejudice to the ongoing investigation, from what we know at this time there is nothing to suggest this tragic death was caused by any police action, but we are keeping an open mind and we are determined that a full and transparent investigation is conducted so that the causes of this sad loss can be established for the family.”