Littlehampton man dies after being restrained following 'altercation' in block of flats

Kevin Quinn died aged 42. Picture: Sussex Police
Kevin Quinn died aged 42. Picture: Sussex Police

A man died after being restrained following an altercation in the block of flats where he lived in Littlehampton, a coroner has found.

An inquest into the death of Kevin Quinn, 42, from St Augustine Road, Littlehampton, was held at Crawley Coroner's Court on Tuesday.

In a statement, coroner Penelope Schofield said: “On March 21, 2018, Kevin Quinn was involved in an altercation with another resident in the block of flats where he lived.

"Following the altercation he was restrained on the floor for a period exceeding 38 minutes.

"Mr Quinn was originally arrested by the police on their arrival but very shortly afterward he became unresponsive.

"The Police commenced CPR but sadly Kevin had suffered a hypoxic brain injury and from which he died the following day.”

A spokesman for the coroner's service confirmed Mr Quinn was restrained by 'two residents of the building'.

At the time of the incident, a Sussex Police spokesman said that two men, aged 52 and 49, were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and released under investigation.

His place of death was recorded as Royal Sussex County Hospital, in Eastern Road, Brighton.

Friend pays tribute

Aicha Boui was a friend of Mr Quinn's for four years.

The 52-year-old from Wheatcroft, Wick, described him as a 'lovely person' who was 'very intelligent', having a degree, and that 'his life was his dog'.

She said: "I miss him. He was a nice fella: he was funny, witty and kind."

She said they met outside Morrison's in Wick, where they got talking and swapped numbers. It turned out they had both worked at the former Van Heyningen Brothers Nursery in Toddington Lane, Littlehampton, picking tomatoes in the summer.

At the time he died, Ms Boui said she was helping Mr Quinn, who was born in Glasgow, Scotland, to find a caravan to move into. When she discovered he had died, she said: "I was heartbroken."

The post-mortem recorded his medical cause of death as 'cardiorespiratory arrest in association with restraint'.

Police respond to 'tragic case'

A senior member of Sussex Police has responded to the ‘tragic case’ of Mr Quinn’s death.

Chief Superintendent Jerry Westerman said: “This is a tragic case where a man sadly lost his life and our condolences go to Kevin Quinn’s family.”

They explained how the force responded to the incident and its aftermath.

Chief Superintendent Westerman said: “Our officers acted quickly and professionally to do everything they could to save Mr Quinn’s life when they arrived at the scene.

“An extensive investigation by our major crime team led to a file being sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

“There was insufficient evidence to prosecute the two men arrested and the investigation was closed earlier this year.

“A further review reached the same conclusion.

“We did refer the incident to the Independent Office of Police Conduct as is required in circumstances like this. They conducted a thorough investigation and found there was no indication any police officer or police staff member had behaved anything other than professionally and there was nothing to justify any disciplinary proceedings.

“We hope these proceedings allow the family to gain some kind of closure to this very sad case.”

According to a Sussex Police spokesman, one of the officers involved attended the inquest and Ms Schofield expressed gratitude for her attendance in court and noted how deeply affected officers who attended the incident had been.

Ms Schofield gave a narrative conclusion to the inquest. She said: "Kevin Quinn died following a prolonged period of restraint following an altercation in the block of flats where he lived."