Independent Police Complaints Commission
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IPCC investigation into death of man in Aberdare after being stopped by police

The danger of swallowing drugs in an attempt to conceal them when stopped by police has been highlighted by an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into the death of a man in Aberdare.

The investigation looked at South Wales Police’s contact with Peter Garry Jonathan, aged 44, who died on 7 April 2016 after being stopped by police in Bute Street at around 2pm.

During the incident, Mr Jonathan attempted to swallow packages containing what the officers perceived to be controlled drugs. As time progressed, Mr Jonathan started to display signs of severe airway obstruction and despite receiving first aid, he was pronounced dead at the scene at around 3pm.

IPCC Commissioner for Wales, Jan Williams, said: “This was a tragic event and I express my sincere condolences to Mr Jonathan’s family.

“The circumstances of Mr Jonathan’s death demonstrate how easy it is to lose one’s life by attempting to conceal drugs in this way.”

After examining the evidence including accounts from officers, the IPCC investigator found that officers had no case to answer for misconduct and acted in accordance with their training.

Upon witnessing Mr Jonathan swallow the packages, the officer involved made efforts to provide him with medical assistance at the earliest opportunity.

A post-mortem examination found that Mr Jonathan died following a cardiac arrest associated with multi-drug misuse and airway obstruction.

The investigation examined the circumstances leading to the stop and search of Mr Jonathan, if any restraint or force was used on him and if there was any evidence to suggest police may have caused or contributed to his death.

The IPCC also investigated whether the decisions and actions by the officers were in line with policies, procedures and guidelines.

The investigation was completed in December and publication of our findings has awaited the end of an inquest.

An inquest held in Aberdare returned a finding of misadventure.


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