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Police watchdog in death inquiry

Published 05/05/2015

A police watchdog has launched an investigation after a man died while in custody in Kirkcaldy
A police watchdog has launched an investigation after a man died while in custody in Kirkcaldy

A police watchdog has appealed for witnesses after a man died following an incident in which a police officer was also injured.

Sheku Bayoh, 31, was detained by police during Sunday's incident in Kirkcaldy, Fife, and died a short time later in custody.

The Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC), set up to investigate serious incidents involving the police, is leading an inquiry into the matter.

Mr Bayoh reportedly moved to Scotland to start a new life after fleeing the civil war in Sierra Leone and lived with his partner Collette and baby son.

His friend Kufre Okoko told the Daily Record: "Shek was a gentle guy who was making a future for his family.

"He loved his baby son Isaac and Collette, and his life totally changed for the better when he met her.

"It's a real tragedy and we need some answers."

He said that Mr Bayoh worked for British Gas and had been due to sit an exam this Wednesday to try to get promotion.

The PIRC has appealed for information about the incident.

A PIRC spokesman said: "Following the death of 31-year-old Sheku Ahmed Tejan Bayoh in Kirkcaldy on May 3, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner is issuing an appeal to any person who was in Hayfield Road, near to Hendry Road, Kirkcaldy, between 7am and 8am on May 3.

"The PIRC is keen to speak to anyone who may have witnessed any incident in this area.

"The PIRC is investigating the circumstances of the death, including the man's contact with police officers prior to his death. The PIRC may be contacted on 01698 542929 or 01698 543291."

Police Scotland previously confirmed that a female police officer was injured during the incident but gave no further details.

A Crown Office spokesman said: "The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has directed the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner to carry out an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of 31-year-old Sheku Ahmed Tejan Bayoh in Kirkcaldy on Sunday May 3, who had been detained by police shortly before his death.

"A report on the PIRC's findings will be submitted to the COPFS in due course."

A statement released by Aamer Anwar, solicitor for Mr Bayoh's family, said they were "extremely distressed" following his death.

Mr Anwar said: "At the age of 31 he leaves behind two young children, his partner Collette and a heartbroken family."

He also said the family have "the right to know the truth" and they would be meeting with authorities in the days ahead.

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