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Police practices questioned by coroner

'Gross failures' contributed to death of suspected drug smuggler

Police officers have been told to be more focused following the death of a suspected drug smuggler in police custody.

Their use of electronic devices while monitoring 27 year-old Pulrose man Steven Corkill figures highly in a series of recommendations.

An inquest last month concluded 'gross failures' contributed to Mr Corkill’s death.

He was found to have a lethal amount of cocaine in his blood when he died at Noble’s Hospital in June 2015.

Coroner John Needham has made a series of recommendations following the inquest and has reminded police it’s imperative any detainee is closely observed.

Last month, the court heard Mr Corkill reached under the covers and removed a condom full of cocaine from his body while he was under hospital watch.

He later ingested the drugs and suffered a cardiac arrest. Cocaine toxicity was described as the medical cause of his death.

Mr Needham goes on to recommend police officers consider searching the detainee, their ward and their bed, every time there’s a changeover of supervising officers.

He has also called for the duty advocate scheme to be extended so anyone detained in hospital is offered legal advice and calls for nurse and clinical staff training to be reviewed.

Last month, the police said it had already changed some of its practices and the way it manages detainees suspected of concealing drugs internally.

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