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Dublin: 2°C Monday 12 April 2021

PSNI accept report into man's death after he sustained fatal injuries falling out of cell van door

The PSNI said a number of recommendations aimed at improving safety have been made to cell vans.

Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A POLICE OMBUDSMAN report into the death of 21-year-old Paul Somerville – who died four days after sustaining serious head injuries when he fell from the rear of a moving police van in County Derry  - has warned about cells being fitted on police vans.

In a statement today, the Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said the 2012 death was “first and foremost a tragedy for his family and friends”.

“The Police Service of Northern Ireland extends its deepest sympathy to them for their loss.”

He stated that the PSNI has fully co-operated with the enquiry by PONI and welcomed its findings. He said the PSNI were “determined that incidents of this nature must not occur again”.

The PSNI has already accepted the findings of the Police Ombudsman and has implemented a number of recommendations aimed at improving both the safety and security of members of the public travelling in cell vans.

The Chief Constable also confirmed that the two officers received written warnings from superintendents for their failure to ensure the cell door of their vehicle was securely locked.

These were subsequently overturned on appeal via the PSNI disciplinary procedure, he said.

During proceedings, Coroner John Leckey said experts agreed on how Paul Somerville, managed to exit a police “cell on wheels” in Maghera in January last year.

The trainee electrician died in hospital three days after sustaining serious head injuries.

His inquest has been adjourned until Thursday to allow the PSNI to instruct lawyers after evidence was presented that the secure unit’s door was faulty.

Read: Teenager shot in both legs in paramilitary-style attack >

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