Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Probe after woman lay dying in Ilford flat

Sushma Kaur
Mrs Kaur had a seven-year-old son

An inquiry is under way by police watchdogs after they said officers had apparently failed to smash open a bathroom door while a woman lay dying.

Sushma Kaur fell ill at her Ilford flat in Essex on 23 January.

Police waited 16 minutes after arriving to open the door she lay behind, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.

An inquest into Mrs Kaur's death heard that prompt basic care could have saved her. The Met has not commented.

Walthamstow Coroner's Court was told that Mrs Kaur would be alive "on the balance of probabilities" if officers had put her in the recovery position when they first arrived.

'Terrible shock'

She was taken to hospital but was pronounced dead an hour and a half after the alarm was raised by her seven-year-old son, the IPCC said.

Rachel Cerfontyne, of the IPCC, said the inquest into the death had been adjourned until its inquiry was complete.

She said: "This must have been a terrible shock for Ms Kaur's family and we have family liaison managers in place to make sure they are kept up to date with the progress of our investigation.

"We will be looking at the circumstances surrounding the death of Sushma Kaur and investigating why police did not force the door open more quickly."

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