Local Man Died after Cocaine Incident

Jason McPherson tried to swallow packet whilst in Police custody

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The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) disclosed this week the findings from an independent investigation into the action of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in relation to the death of Jason McPherson.

Mr McPherson, a 25-year-old man from East Acton, died on 18 January 2007. He had been travelling in a car with two other men when the vehicle was stopped by MPS officers on the Edward Woods Estate, W11. The three men were detained and taken to Notting Hill Police Station where they were searched. Shortly after arriving at the police station, Jason became unwell and required medical attention. An ambulance was called and he was taken to St Mary’s Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The investigation was necessary as Mr McPherson had died while in police custody. It aimed to establish the facts leading to Mr McPherson’s death and also looked at two complaints made by Mr McPherson’s family about his treatment by police whilst in custody.

After Jason and his companions were stopped and searched on the Edward Woods Estate in Notting Hill Gate, all three were handcuffed, searched and taken to Notting Hill Police Station.

Shortly after they arrived at the station, an officer noticed that Mr McPherson did not look well and asked if he was okay, and whether he had taken anything. Jason McPherson was apparently chewing something and when an officer asked him to open his mouth this was found to be a package. Attempts to get him to spit it out or to force him to do so were unsuccessful and an ambulance was called.

An ambulance was called at approximately 10.42pm. Mr McPherson began to have a seizure. Officers put him in the recovery position and attempted to clear his airway. The ambulance arrived around 9 minutes later and paramedics took over from police. Paramedics checking his airway removed a package stuck to the roof of his mouth. He was taken to St Mary's Hospital. Continuous resuscitation attemps were unsuccessful and Jason McPherson was pronounced dead at 11.42pm.

After Jason's death, his mother Sandra described how she had tried to get hold of him repeatedly and finally managed to get through. She said: "We heard him saying, 'Get off me, get off me - I can't breathe'.

"I then heard another voice shouting, 'Spit it out, spit it out'."

Another voice was allegedly heard saying, 'Make him sit up'.

And Sandra claimed she and Leah (Jason's girlfriend) then heard another voice saying, "He's dying".

Two hours later the pair discovered asthmatic Jason had been taken to hospital and had died.

The IPCC investigation concluded that no stop and search guidelines had been breached, not was there evidence that force had been used. No officers face proceedings for their involvement in the incident.

IPCC Commissioner, Mike Franklin, said:

"Tragically a young man has died and I would like to extend my sincere condolences to his family.

"The IPCC has undertaken a thorough and independent investigation of the death of Mr McPherson and the complaints of his family. The investigation has examined the CCTV footage of both Mr McPherson’s initial contact with officers on the Edward Woods Estate, and the footage from Notting Hill Police Station. The investigation team has also taken statements from over 30 key witnesses, including the officers concerned, and sought advice from expert witnesses on matters of control and restraint.

"It is terribly sad that a man has died while in police custody. Our investigation has found that the police officers tried to help Mr McPherson by providing first aid when he became unwell.

"I hope that the conclusion of the inquest and the publication of our investigation findings will give Mr McPherson’s family some closure.”


January 17, 2010