Pcs on restraint-death charges

Two police officers are to be prosecuted for misconduct in public office following the death of a 52-year-old man while under police restraint.

Pc Maurice Leigh and Pc Neil Bowdery are to appear in court in connection with the death of Colin Holt, who died from positional asphyxia at his home in Gillingham, Kent, on August 30 2010.

The summonses to appear at Medway Magistrates' Court on October 8 follow an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Mr Holt's death occurred after staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital called police to report that Mr Holt, who had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act, was missing.

Officers from Kent Police went to Mr Holt's flat and found him there.

The decision to prosecute the two constables was made on the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Rene Barclay, principal crown advocate with the CPS special crime team, said: "I have advised the IPCC to obtain summonses for Pc Maurice Leigh and Pc Neil Bowdery. Both officers will face a single count of misconduct in public office, contrary to the common law.

"It is alleged that on August 30 2010, whilst acting as a police officer, namely as a police constable, Pc Leigh and Pc Bowdery misconducted themselves in that, without lawful justification or excuse, they wilfully neglected to take reasonable and proper care of Colin Holt, a person in police detention.

"On the evidence I have reviewed, I am satisfied that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that the public interest requires a prosecution.

"Pc Leigh and Pc Bowdery will now be summonsed on a criminal offence and have the right to a fair trial. As proceedings are now active, it is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice this trial."