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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 16:06 GMT
Injured man died following arrest
A 77-year-old man who fell backwards injuring his head spent two hours in police custody after paramedics refused to treat him, an inquest has heard.

The jury was told Henry Purnell, from Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth, had drunk six pints of lager before he left a pub and fell on 2 February.

Paramedics said the man was aggressive and called police, who arrested him.

Three hours after the fall police took Mr Purnell to the James Paget Hospital, where he died two days later.

A post mortem examination showed Mr Purnell died from head injuries, and study on his brain showed severe bruising, cuts and haemorrhaging.

Scott Riley told the inquest he saw Mr Purnell - known as Harry to his friends - fall down near the Duke of Wellington pub on St Peter's Road, Great Yarmouth.

Drunk and disorderly

He said: "I could see Harry and he seemed alright, then he just fell back and his head went bang on the floor."

Mr Riley said he went to assist Mr Purnell while Richard Piggin - who lives opposite where Mr Purnell fell - called an ambulance.

Both men said Mr Purnell suffered a graze to the back of his head, that he was bleeding slightly and was unconscious for 10 minutes before he came round.

Mr Piggin said: "They (paramedics) wanted to get him on the trolley and in the ambulance, but I think he was in shock and he didn't want anyone to touch him and he put his arms out.

"She (paramedic) made a comment that she had been assaulted earlier that week or before and that she wasn't going there."

The police then arrived. "I heard them (police) say that if he did not go in the ambulance they would have to take him in the police van," he said.

"I thought if they can get him into the police van they could get him into the ambulance which would have been the more sensible thing to do."

Mr Purnell was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and taken to Great Yarmouth police station, where he was held for two hours.

On advice from the police doctor, Mr Purnell was taken to the James Paget Hospital, where he died two days later.

The hearing continues.


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