Public inquiry into the custody death of Sheku Bayoh hears how he ran and attacked a female PC

CUSTODY death dad Sheku Bayoh ran after a female cop before attacking her during a violent confrontation, a hearing heard yesterday.

Lawyers acting for the officers involved in the tragic incident have revealed their recollections of what happened for the first time.

Sheku died after being detained by cops in 2015

Sheku loved being a father to Tyler and Isaac

Sheku loved being a father to Tyler and Isaac

Gordon Jackson QC is representing three of the police officers

Gordon Jackson QC is representing three of the police officers

The public inquiry in Edinburgh heard how a frantic “officer injured” alert was issued by one cop while a six inch blade was found later nearby.

The hearing also heard how one officer attempted to use incapacitant spray on Sheku but it blew back into his own face.

The probe was ordered to determine how the dad, 31, died while being restrained by up to nine officers in Kirkcaldy in 2015 and whether race played any part.

Gordon Jackson QC appeared on behalf of three of the officers.


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He said: “In short it is submitted they did nothing wrong and that race did not influence their actions in any way.

“There had been several reports from members of the public of a well built male, around 6ft, of muscular build, wielding a knife in public, walking in the middle of the road, and acting aggressively towards passing cars.

“When the officers attended the scene they were faced with someone who they understood, on the basis of reports from the public, to be armed with a large knife.

“The knife was recovered approximately 20 metres from where the officers confronted Mr Bayoh. The blade was about 6ins in length, it was a kitchen knife.

“From the moment they arrived on the scene everything those officers did was in line with standard operating procedure in place at the time.

“They could not discount the possibility that it (the knife) was not being concealed.”

PC Ashley Tomlinson then arrived on the scene and was unable to see PC Alan Paton but saw Sheku and PC Craig Walker facing each other.

Mr Jackson said: “PC Walker had his hands covering his face, PC Walker had in fact been contaminated by his own incapacitant spray but PC Tomlinson thought he had been injured.

“His inability to see PC Paton gave him cause to believe that too might be the case.

“Officer Tomlinson tried verbal commands. Mr Bayoh refused to follow them or engage with him. PC Short and PC Tomlinson then tried incapacitant sprays but they too had no effect.

“Sheku Bayoh then chased and violently attacked Nicole Short.

“PC Tomlinson believed that there was real danger to Nicole Short and in defence of her and himself he used his baton and was then involved in the restraint of Mr Bayoh on the ground.

“The force used was reasonable, proportionate and necessary in the circumstances.

“Mr Bayoh displayed serious and aggravated resistance and the officers were entitled to use the force they did in the circumstances.”

Two further colleagues PC Kayleigh Good and PC Alan Smith were also dispatched.

Mr Jackson said: “On route they heard the emergency airway button and Nicole Short’s voice, that’s rare that button being used. And they heard a further activation and a voice saying ‘officer injured’.

“PC Good was initially concerned that Nicole Short had been stabbed, she was shaking, injured. By that time Mr Bayoh was on the ground.”

PC Smith attempted CPR on Sheku before driving the ambulance to hospital so the paramedics could treat Sheku in the back.

Roddy Dunlop QC is representing the Scottish Police Federation, and ex PC Short and PC Walker.

He revealed the two officers were entitled to “no comment” during the probe but have chosen to give full evidence to “dispel any suggestion of wrongdoing on their part.”

Mr Dunlop said: “There has been an active campaign to have the officers who attended criminally prosecuted.

“There have been accusations of racism directed against those officers notwithstanding the lack of any evidential foundation for such an accusation.”

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