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Pcs warned over epileptic fit error

Two police officers received written warnings after arresting a man they thought was drunk but who had just suffered an epileptic fit, a watchdog said.

Sean Hardy, 30, died after he was arrested by the officers at his home in Pinxton, Derbyshire, and was taken to his local police station, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said.

He had earlier called paramedics requesting help but they were unable to get into his flat and phoned for police back up.

When two Pcs arrived they thought Mr Hardy was drunk and arrested him for an outstanding offence.

But by the time he went before two custody sergeants at Ripley police station, he could not stand and the senior officers demanded he be taken to hospital.

The two Pcs then drove to nearby Alfreton police station with Mr Hardy so he could be driven by other officers to hospital.

But by the time they arrived he had stopped breathing and he died a few hours later in hospital.

Following an investigation by the IPCC, the two officers who attended the first call-out received written warnings. The acting sergeant they spoke to at Ripley and a Pc who joined them for the trip to Alfreton received advice.

IPCC commissioner Amerdeep Somal, said: "From our investigation it appears that Sean's best chance of surviving was if he had been taken to hospital from his flat. However, from the point when his care was the sole responsibility of the police, there were a number of opportunities to realise that Sean needed urgent medical care. Sadly these were not taken.

"A number of officers recognised Sean's need for medical treatment. Those directly responsible for him though believed he was acting and, despite the direction of senior officers, did not take him to hospital immediately."

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