Sheffield police staff ‘failed to get medication’ for detainee who died

Ecclesfield Police Station
Ecclesfield Police Station
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Police staff in Sheffield failed to get medication for an alcoholic before he died in custody, his inquest heard.

Neil Budziszewski died in his cell at Ecclesfield Police Station in Sheffield on Friday, May 3, 2013.

Jurors at the 42-year-old’s inquest yesterday heard there was allegedly a series of mistakes made by South Yorkshire Police staff in the custody suite in the hours leading up to Mr Budziszewski’s death.

These included documents being filled in incorrectly and failure to call a doctor when Mr Budziszewski reportedly began sobering up – a risk for people with an alcohol dependency due to the possibility of severe withdrawal symptoms.

Dennis Rawlinson, a civilian detention officer who has worked for the force for almost 25 years, told the inquest he ‘wasn’t aware’ Mr Budziszewski was an alcoholic, nor did he know he required the drug Temazepam.

Mr Rawlinson said: “If I had known then what I know now I would probably have got a nurse or a doctor for him, or certainly made the suggestion.”

He told the inquest he was ‘positive’ he did not tell Acting Inspector Nicholas Dodsworth about an alcohol problem.

However, Mr Dodsworth told the inquest that when Mr Rawlinson briefed him on their detainee, he had told him about the alcohol dependency.

Mr Dodsworth said: “I knew he was an alcoholic and he had been brought in under the influence of alcohol.

“I am sure Mr Rawlinson said ‘alcoholic’. I think he is mistaken.”

Detention officer Gary Houlton told the hearing he had made an error on Mr Budziszewski’s notes and incorrectly stated he had seen a doctor, when he had not.

A post-mortem examination foundMr Budziszewski, of no fixed abode, had been suffering from heart problems.

The inquest, at Sheffield’s Medico-Legal Centre in Upperthorpe, has already heard Mr Budziszewski was a heroin and cannabis user who had been arrested on suspicion of stealing lager from a shop.

The hearing continues.

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