Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
Written warnings for four GMP officers following investigation into death of Andre Moura
Four Greater Manchester Police officers have been given a written warning following an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into the death in custody of Andre Moura.
A misconduct hearing, which concluded recently (17 December), found misconduct was proven for PC Michael Healey, PC Ashley Hudson, PC Andrew Bebb and PC Craig O'Brien.
We independently investigated the circumstances leading up to the death of Mr Moura, who was detained by officers responding to reports of a disturbance at a home in Oldham on 6 July 2018, following a mandatory referral from the force.
During his arrest, there was a struggle and officers used CS spray to subdue the 30-year-old. One officer also struck him with his fist and knee.
After being handcuffed, Mr Moura, who by this point was naked, was placed in a police van, where he was seen to be breathing but unresponsive. An ambulance was called but cancelled soon after. The officers told us this was because they believed he was responding.
Mr Moura was taken to custody and assessed in the van by a nurse who could not find a pulse. An ambulance was requested and CPR was performed. Mr Moura was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1.30am on 7 July 2018.
During our investigation, which concluded in August 2019, we investigated the conduct of all 10 officers who attended the property. All were interviewed under caution.
We also obtained statements from witnesses, including neighbours and custody staff. We also reviewed the officers’ body-worn video footage and CCTV from outside the custody building.
We found six officers had a case to answer for gross misconduct for possible breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour regarding conduct and duties and responsibilities. This was in relation to the lack of action or recognition that Mr Moura needed medical assistance.
Two of the officers were also found to have a case to answer in respect of their use of force during the incident.
The force agreed and arranged disciplinary proceedings. Following a three-week misconduct hearing, the panel found the case was proven at the level of misconduct for four of the officers and they were given written warnings. A fifth, PC Tracy Ainsworth-Wrigley, was found to have no case to answer. During the hearing, the case against a sixth officer, was dismissed.
None of the misconduct findings related to the use of force against Mr Moura.
IOPC Regional Director Amanda Rowe recently said:
“Mr Moura died in tragic circumstances and our thoughts are with his family, loved ones and all those affected by his death.
“Mr Moura became unresponsive while in the care of police, who had a duty to ensure he received prompt medical attention when it became clear he was unwell. The actions of those officers who failed in their duties towards him risked seriously undermining public confidence in the police and this was recognised by the panel.
“Our investigation was vital to ensure there was independent scrutiny of the actions of the officers involved. We also identified areas of learning for the force to improve how officers respond to similar incidents in future and welcome the actions taken by GMP to address them.
“Our findings have also been shared with the coroner and will help inform the inquest, which we hope will help to answer the family’s questions around Mr Moura’s death.”
On completion of our investigation in August 2019, we passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider criminal charges in relation to five of the officers we investigated. The decision was made not to charge any of them with an offence.
Our investigation also identified areas of potential learning for GMP relating to the way detainees who are unable to sit up are transported as well as the training provided to officers to help them recognise when suspects are showing signs of acute behavioural disorder. The force proposed ways to address both and so there was no need for any statutory recommendations in this case.
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