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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 August 2007, 16:06 GMT 17:06 UK
No punishment for Sylvester death
Roger Sylvester
Roger Sylvester was being treated for a manic illness
No police officers will face punishment over the death of a man who stopped breathing while being restrained.

Roger Sylvester, 30, died in hospital in January 1999 after being restrained by eight police officers following his arrest under the Mental Health Act.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) apologised for the time it had taken to reach a decision.

An inquest ruled in 2003 that he was unlawfully killed but this was quashed a year later by a High Court judge.

And in 2005, the Crown Prosecution Service announced there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the eight police officers.

Found naked

Mr Sylvester was found naked and behaving strangely outside his home in Tottenham, north London, in 1999.

He was detained by police but stopped breathing while being restrained for about 20 minutes in a hospital room.

He was later declared brain stem dead and died eight days later after his life support machines were switched off.

IPCC Commissioner Nicola Williams said: "We understand that this has been a very long and distressing time, especially for the family of the deceased.

"The delay has also affected the police officers involved. It was a complex process taking the disciplinary decision and it necessarily took time."

Reasonable doubt

She said the IPCC had brought in considerable changes to prevent such delays happening in the future.

But the decision not to punish any police officers was criticised by Mr Sylvester's family who insisted the eight officers had "blood on their hands".

"The independent inquest jury which heard all the evidence was able to express its satisfaction beyond reasonable doubt that Roger Sylvester was unlawfully killed," said Sheila Sylvester, Mr Sylvester's mother.

"Even Mr Justice Collins, who quashed that verdict on a technicality, had to concede that there was sufficient evidence for the inquest jury to conclude that Roger was unlawfully killed."

No charges over Sylvester death
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