Probe into two deaths within two days of restrained black mental health patients

The police complaints body is investigating the deaths of two black service users who died within two days of each other after they had been restrained by officers.

Olaseni Lewis, 23, from South Norwood, south London, slipped into a coma after his airways were restricted at the Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham on August 31. He had previously been restrained by up to seven police officers.

Colin Holt, 52, died at his Gillingham home after being restrained by police. He had been sectioned under the Metal Health Act, and had been restrained by officers in his Goudhurst Road flat at 1.30pm on August 30.

He had left Medway Maritime Hospital at 12.45pm that day, prompting staff to call police.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating both deaths.

Ominously, the deaths mark eight months since the end of the previous government’s five-year action plan to tackle racism within mental health services.

The action plan was triggered by the 2003 death of black David Bennett who died after being restrained for 25 minutes by nurses at the Norvic Clinic in Norwich.

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