BME, refugee and migrant deaths in custody (2014 – 2023)

BME, refugee and migrant deaths in custody (2014 – 2023)

Here we publish a list of BME, refugee and migrant deaths in custody from 2014 – 2023 that took place in prison, in immigration detention or involving police. This list, which is not exhaustive of all BME, refugee and migrant deaths in custody, has been compiled using IRR News coverage and media releases by the organisation INQUEST. Read a comment piece on deaths from 2014-2020 here.

Deaths with a racial element 1991-1999 Deaths with a racial element 2000 - 2014


BME, refugee and migrant deaths in the UK involving the police, or security guards, causing concern, since September 2014

Last updated: 4 June 2024



22.12.14 Adrian McDonald (34) dies in Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme in police van after being tasered and bitten by police dogs, following a house party; inquest jury says the level of force used, after he had taken cocaine, might have increased the stress that led to his death; two officers appeal against finding of misconduct.


3.5.15  Sheku Bayoh (32) a black man born in Sierra Leone dies from positional asphyxia in Kirkcaldy, Fife, after 5 officers restrained him, using batons, hand and leg cuffs, CS spray and pepper spray, 23 injuries on body; family concerned that no officers to face charges, independent inquiry  commenced in September 2022.

11.12.15   Jermaine Baker (28), an unarmed black man was shot dead by police marksman in Wood Green, London, during an alleged attempt to free a prisoner; inquiry held in place of inquest finds that while Baker was unarmed he was killed lawfully in an act of self-defence, though 24 errors were made in the Met’s planning and conduct of an armed operation. A landmark supreme court decision in July 2023, holding that the civil law test on the use of force applies to police conduct decisions, paves the way for a gross misconduct hearing of CO19 firearms officer W80.


13.7.16   Mzee Shemar Mohammed-Daley (18), who suffers from autism, dies following restraint by Liverpool private security guards and additional police during a psychotic episode in a Liverpool shopping centre; inquest verdict ‘natural causes’.

15.8.16  Dalian Atkinson (48) a black former footballer dies in Telford, after restraint, including taser, used by West Mercia police; June 2021 a police officer  was convicted of Atkinson’s manslaughter and sentenced  to eight years in prison. Inquest yet to take place.

13.9.16 Andrew Hall (43), a black man dies after being arrested in hospital and subjected to a period of restraint by officers at Huddersfield police station and then returned to hospital where he died; inquest returned an uncritical verdict.

18.10.16 Jamal Mohamoud (21),  dies after being fatally attacked and stabbed with a large knife by prisoners in HMP Pentonville. A 2017 HM Inspectorate of Prisons visit found safety outcomes for prisoners at Pentonville to be poor, with only four of the 19 recommendations in the area of safety made at a previous inspection achieved.

2017  Yassar Yaqub (28), an Asian man was shot dead on the M62 near Huddersfield when the car he was travelling in was stopped by West Yorkshire police; an investigation by the IOPC rules against bringing disciplinary proceedings against any of the officers involved; inquest reaches a verdict of lawful killing.

1.4.17   Leroy Junior Medford dies in the care of Thames Valley Police, having ingested heroin; inquest jury returns highly critical conclusion identifying individual and systemic failures by police officers who did not provide the care and emergency treatment that might have saved him.

15.6.17   Edson da Costa (25) dies in Beckton, London, from choking on a drug wrap after being restrained face-down, handcuffed, hit and sprayed with CS gas during a police search; inquest verdict ‘misadventure’; family lawyer calls for a review of first aid training and advice given to police officers for dealing with a person who is believed to have swallowed items.

15.7.17  Shane Bryant (29), a black man dies in hospital two days after fleeing an attempted robbery and being restrained for 17 minutes by Leicestershire police and members of the public; inquest returns a critical narrative verdict, finding that unreasonable force contributed to the death.

19.7.17  Darren Cumberbatch (32), a black man dies of multiple organ failure caused by ‘cocaine use associated to restraint’ in Warwickshire hospital 9 days after being restrained, during mental health crisis, by police in Nuneaton involving batons, 3 uses of tasers, punching, stamping; jury’s narrative conclusion at the inquest finds that the police’s restraint contributed to his death. IOPC agrees to reinvestigate police contact due to compelling reasons’.

22.1.17 Rashan Charles (20) dies in a Dalston shop following pursuit and ‘unorthodox’ restraint by police support officer and ingesting caffeine and paracetamol; inquest verdict of accidental death (after other possibilities ruled out by coroner) with a jury rider that the police had not taken appropriate action for what was a medical emergency.

24.11.17   Nuno Cardoso (25) dies in a police van of cardio-respiratory arrest combined with drug ingestion following restraint and use of batons in his arrest by Thames Valley Police at Ruskin College Oxford; inquest returns narrative verdict and criticism by Inquest and family as to why he was being taken to a police station rather than a much nearer hospital when his situation suggested a medical emergency.


9.3.18   Kevin Clarke (35) dies in hospital following a restraint by up to 9 officers during a mental health episode on a Lewisham street in London; inquest, returning a narrative verdict, criticises ‘inappropriate’ restraint;  a reinvestigation by the IOPC leads to proceedings for gross misconduct or gross negligence.

31.3.18   Oghene Abboh (26) dies from organ failure after ingesting drugs at Walworth police station, London, during a search by Southwark police; inquest returns a narrative verdict; IOPC rules out misconduct by officers.

25.5.18   Cameron Whelan (26) drowns in Avon after police chase him (thinking he matches a wanted man) and incapacitating spray is threatened; inquest verdict of ‘misadventure’ disappoints family critical of fact that officer did not go to save him.

7.7.18   Andre Moura (30) dies (cause not yet established) after being detained by Greater Manchester Police in Oldham during a domestic ‘breach of the peace’, CS gas used and IOPC refers 5 officers to CPS on assault and ABH charges.


15.3.19  Trevor Alton Smith (52), a black man who had a history of mental illness, shot dead in Birmingham flat as a team of West Midlands Police firearms officers execute a warrant in the early hours of the morning; inquest returns a ‘lawful killing’ verdict with no criticism of the police operation.

20.4.19  Gavin Brown (29), a black man who was under a Community Treatment Order, dies eight days after being restrained by a licensed door supervisor and members of the public for over six minutes outside a pub in Manchester; police officers arrested Gavin and handcuffed him while unresponsive before administering CPR; inquest returns a verdict of unlawful killing;

29.6.19 Ian Taylor (54), an asthmatic black man dies in Brixton on one of the hottest days of the year, pleading for help whilst being held by Met police; inquest concludes that the cardiac arrest that led to his death was aggravated by failure to carry out adequate risk assessment; officer referred by the coroner to IOPC for further investigation.

1.7.19  Jason Lennon (37), a black man dies after experiencing a mental health crisis following a period of restraint by security guards inside London’s Excel centre; inquest found cause of death as cardio respiratory arrest due to restraint in the prone position following acute psychotic episode and criticised ‘excessive’ and ‘unreasonable’ restraint used by licensed security guards.


8.3.20 Hassan Yahya (30), a Black man  who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia,  and was carrying knives, though he had not  threatened the public, is shot dead by a City of London police officer in central London; after an inquest returns a verdict of lawful killing the directions of the Coroner to the jury are criticised.

1.5.20 Abdul Hamid (26), an Asian man who had a history of mental illness and drugs abuse, dies after restraint first by members of the public and then by West Midlands police officers following a road accident in Coventry; inquest reaches a misadventure and drugs-related verdict; IOPC recommends that gross misconduct proceedings be brought in relation to one officer’s use of force and failure to provide first aid.

20.5.20   Simeon Francis (35) dies (cause not yet established) in Torquay station custody suite; IOPC examining care given whilst he was detained by Devon and Cornwall police.

26.6.20 Badreddin Abdalla (28) an asylum seeker from Sudan is shot dead by police, following an episode in which he stabbed and injured six people at the Park Inn Hotel, Glasgow which was being used as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers as an emergency response to the Covid pandemic; a Crown Office investigation concludes the police shooting was ‘proportionate’ and ‘absolutely necessary in the circumstances’.

10.8.20 Krystian Kilkowski (32), a Polish man, experiencing an acute behavioural disturbance after taking drugs, was restrained by five police officers from Norfolk Constabulary for over an hour during a heatwave. He dies the day after; inquest finds serious failures in the methods of restraint contributed to a ‘drug related death’.

7.10.20 Lamont Roper (23), a black man drowns in the River Lea, Tottenham, London following a police pursuit and a struggle close to the canal; inquest finds that he fell and did not jump and criticises very inadequate rescue procedures.


9.01.21Mohamud M Hassan (24) a Somali man is found dead at home a day after being arrested by South Wales police; the IOPC are investigating the conduct of a number of officers.

17.02.21 Moyied Bashir (29) dies at the Grange University Hospital following physical restraints being used when police were called during a medical episode at a house in Newport, Wales; inquest delivers a narrative verdict, criticising the police for its lack of knowledge about Acute Behavioural Disorder (ABD), that can be exacerbated by restraint and can lead to cardiac arrest.


4.6.22  Oladeji Omishore (41), a black man dies in London after ‘falling’ into the Thames from Chelsea Bridge, after the police allegedly tasered him a number of times; the family launches a judicial review into the IOPC’s decision not to hold a criminal or conduct investigation into his death.

3.7.22 Godrick Osei (35), a black man who suffered from depression and drug addiction dies after being arrested and restrained in a cupboard during a mental health crisis at a care home in Truro, Cornwall; IOPC is investigating.

5.9.22  Chris Kaba (24), an unarmed black man is shot dead by police in Streatham Hill following a police car chase; in March 2022, the IOPC announce that a file on a firearms officer has been passed to the CPS to consider potential criminal charges; in September 2023 armed officer NX121 is charged with murder; in March 2024, Old Bailey hearing  lifts anonymity of firearms officer.

7.10.22  Unnamed man, (31), mixed-race, who called the police during a mental health crisis, dies during a restraint during which pepper-spray was used; IOPC launch an investigation.

21.11.22  Sali Byberi (29), an Albanian man, dies after being tasered several times by police who were called to his home in Braintree, Essex; the IOPC investigates.


12.4.23 Zodoq Obatolah (52), falls to his death from a balcony in Peckham, south London after police break into his flat following repeatedly emergency calls about his welfare; a taser is discharged; two officers investigated for gross negligence manslaughter; inquest opens September 2023.

BME, refugee and migrant deaths in prisons or custody services causing concern since September 2014


n.d.. Anonymous* (29), black man dies of a duodenal ulcer one day after being referred to a secure psychiatric hospital for treatment; inquest return a highly critical narrative conclusion, stating that systemic failings amounting to neglect by prison staff and NHS Trust Healthcare significantly contributed to his death.

n.d.. Anonymous, (42) mixed-race man dies after a sustained violent assault by a cellmate; inquest returns a narrative verdict, concluding that a catalogue of failures contributed to his death.

n.d. Anonymous (66), an Egyptian man was on remand when he was attacked by a cellmate with a previous history of violence leading to his death from severe head injuries; inquest concludes that he was unlawfully killed.

25.12.15   Anonymous (19) Slovakian, who had lived in UK since 4-years-old, dies in Brinsford young offenders’ institution, takes his own life after receiving letter suggesting he is liable for deportation following his sentence. Despite attempting suicide before and seeing his cellmate try to do so, too, he was not on suicide watch at time of death. Inquest delivers accidental death verdict.

21.9.15  Thomas James Nicol (37), a mixed-race man and IPP prisoner is found hanging in the segregation unit of HMP The Mount and dies four days later; inquest returns a verdict of suicide with no critical findings made regarding his care or the impact of the IPP sentence on his mental health.

19.11.15  Jonathan Palmer (30), an Asian man who was on a drugs detoxification programme, hung himself at HMP Wandsworth’; inquest returned a narrative conclusion, finding that on the balance of probabilities, a significant contribution to the decision to take his own life was the pressure of his impending trial, whilst his depression and chronic back pain possibly contributed to the decision.


n.d. Anonymous (18), a Lithuanian national facing extradition on a European Arrest Warrant for a minor theft hung himself in his cell and dies a few days later; inquest criticises prison staff for not carrying out timely checks and emergency response.

11.1.16   Sarah Reed (32) is found hanged in HMP Holloway on remand awaiting psychiatric reports; inquest verdict notes she did not receive adequate treatment for her levels of distress, considering she was known to be severely mentally ill.

19.7.16   Natasha Chin (39) with alcohol and drug dependence issues dies in HMP Bronzefield; inquest verdict notes neglect and systemic failures by prison and healthcare providers contributed to the death.

2.9.16   Jamal Hussein (32) is found hanged in HMP Manchester; inquest verdict ‘misadventure’ since he had been bullied and threatened and family had tried to get these concerns taken up by staff.


6.9.17   Annabella Landsberg (45) dies lying on a floor of a segregation cell in HMP Peterborough for 21 hours, after being restrained. She was diagnosed with HIV and type 2 diabetes and found at death to be severely dehydrated. The inquest jury finds ‘failings on the part of the prison, healthcare staff, GPs and custody officers that contributed to the death’.

27.9.17   Anthony Solomon (38) dies in HMP Nottingham, having taken a synthetic cannaboid; jury returns narrative conclusion at inquest highlighting failure to answer cell bell (40 instead of 5 minutes) and prevalence of drugs in the prison.

7.12.17 Michal Netyks (35), a Polish national dies of a head injury at HMP Altcourse after jumping from a landing  after he was told he would not be released from prison but further detained pending possible deportation; inquest concludes that death was a suicide in part contributed by the immigration deportation process.


26.2.18 Tyrone Givans (32), a profoundly deaf black man takes his own life in HMP Pentonville; inquest finds systemic failures and missed opportunities contributed to death.

23.2.18 Keethswaren Kunarathnaman (45), a Sri Lankan national and immigration detainee, hung himself in his cell at HMP Wormwood Scrubs whilst on hunger strike protesting deportation to Sri Lanka; inquest returns a verdict of suicide and coroner indicates a Prevention of Future Deaths report would be made to the Home Office.

24.3.18 Eshea Nile Dillon (22), a black man with severe asthma, dies at HMP Stocken, East Midlands after his calls for help went unheeded for eight minutes, with further delays in calling an ambulance; inquest, delivering an ‘open conclusion’ verdict, criticises aspects of the emergency response.

5.6.18 Taras Nykolyn (49 ), who was born in Ukraine, dies in a brutal and sustained attack by three prisoners at a secure unit HMP Woodhill; inquest reaching a narrative verdict criticises training, search policies and risk assessment.

19.7.18   Rocky Stenning (26) takes his own life in Chelmsford Prison, 9 days after arriving; inquest finds a failure to assess his mental state and see him as a suicide risk contributed to death.

30.8.18 Winston Augustine (43), a mixed-race man dies after hanging himself in the segregation unit in HMP Wormwood Scrubs; inquest finds that he was in a state suggestive of starvation and that multiple failures by the prison service to meet basic needs contributed directly to his death.

19.11.18 Tariq Dalton (42), a mixed-race man dies after collapsing on the floor of his cell at HMP Highdown after reporting vomiting blood and internal bleeding; inquest finds a series of failures in healthcare at the prison contributed to his death.

10.10.18   Osman Ali Hassan (45) dies in HMP Wandsworth; inquest finds that since he suffered from hypertension, not enough was done to control this and the poor healthcare contributed to his death


14.4.19 Thokozani Shiri (21), a black man with HIV, dies after healthcare staff at HMP & YOI Chelmsford failed to provide him with life-saving antiretroviral medication, with a delay of five days in calling an ambulance after he fell ill; inquest finds systemic failures in healthcare.

3.5.19 Jaskiran Kainth (18), who had mental health problems, is found unresponsive in a cell at Leicester Magistrates’ Court and taken to hospital where he dies several days later; inquest, returning a verdict of misadventure, finds inadequate action by multiple authorities, including GeoAmey custody services, contributed to his death.

26.6.19 Caden Stewart (16), a mixed-race boy dies in hospital after becoming ill and suffering a brain haemorrhage at HMP/YOI Cookham Wood; inquest finds he died of natural causes but criticises healthcare failings.

4.8.19 Mohammed Irfaan Afzal (22), from a Pakistani background, dies of a chest infection, after losing one third of his body weight over 48 days, whilst held on remand at HMP Leeds; investigations identified failure to assess health, including his mental health and learning disabilities.

26.9.19 Aisha Cleary, a full-term baby, dies after her mother, Rianna Cleary, a vulnerable 18-year-old Black teenager and care-leaver, gives birth alone and without care or assistance in her cell in HMP Bronzefield. Criticising HMP Bronzefield and Ashford & St Peter’s Hospital Trust midwifery care, the inquest coroner found that serious operational and systemic failings contributed to the baby being delivered without assistance and losing the chance of resuscitation and survival.

2.1.20 Liridon Saliuka (29), who was born in Kosovo but lived in the UK since the age of 7, dies while on remand at HMP Belmarsh; he had numerous disabilities and suffered from PTSD due to a car crash that left him in a coma; inquest returns suicide verdict but finds numerous instances of ill-treatment of a discriminatory nature contributed to his death.


14.6.21 Floyd Everton Carruthers (58), a black man who suffered from mental health issues, dies after not leaving his cell in HMP Birmingham for four days, and not eating multiple evening meals; inquest finds neglect included failure to make a healthcare referral contributed to his death.


BME, refugee and migrant deaths in immigration detention, causing concern, since September 2014


20.4.15   Pinakin Patel (33) Pakistani, dies at Yarl’s Wood IRC, heart attack; held after arriving at Heathrow and holiday story disbelieved

7.8.15   Thomas Kirungi (30) Ugandan, dies at The Verne IRC; suicide after asylum claim refused


17.2.16   Amir Siman Tov (30s) Moroccan, in Colnbrook IRC, found dead, though on suicide watch, ‘misadventure’ verdict and critical narrative conclusion that there had not been proper medical care

1.12 16   Tarek Chowdhury (64) Bangladeshi, in Colnbrook IRC, murdered by mentally ill and violent fellow detainee; inquest verdict ‘unlawful killing’ and criticism of either man being in immigration detention and lack of assessment of assailant.

6.12.16   Bai Bai Ahmed Kabia (49) Sierra Leonean, had been held in indefinite detention pending deportation as a foreign national prisoner for two years, in Morton Hall IRC, dies from brain haemorrhage; inquest finds opportunity missed to diagnose and treat him, which could have prevented death


11.1 17   Lukasz Debowski (27) Polish, in Morton Hall, found hanged

9.4.17   Branko Zdravkovic (43) in Verne IRC, found hanged

7.9.17    Marcin Gwozdzinski (28) Polish, in Harmondsworth IRC, suicide

19.9.17   Un-named man Chinese, in Dungavel, Scotland, found dead

3.10.17   Carlington Spencer (38) Jamaican, in Morton Hall, dies from stroke, series of failings in medical care identified at inquest

19.11.17   Arim Bakar (27) Iraqi, in Morton Hall, suicide


12.3.18   Nancy Motsamai (35) South African, dies of a pulmonary embolism five days after a deportation attempt during which she was estimated by officials to be feigning illness.

30.6.18 Mustafa Dawood, 23, Sudanese, dies from a fall during an immigration raid


12.9.19   Oscar Okwurime (34) Nigerian, Harmondsworth, found dead, family and friends claim he had not received medical care though staff knew he was ill.


19.11.22  Hussain Haseeb Ahmed (31), Iraqi, dies in hospital after being held for seven days, possibly unlawfully, at Manston reception centre, Kent, tested positive for diphtheria. Prisons and Probations Ombudsman launch an inquiry.


26.3.23 Frank Ospina (39), a Colombian engineering graduate, dies in Colnbrook detention centre, near Heathrow, reportedly of a suicide.

18.11.23 Anonymous (37), Albanian man dies a week after attempting suicide at Brook House immigration removal centre near Gatwick. Police, coroner and prisons and probations ombudsman launch separate inquiries.

* Though information on these deaths is already in the public domain, Inquest provides anonymised information in certain cases where families do not respond to a request for consent to include their name.