Newport drug user who died in cell ‘not thought to be at risk’

FOUND DEAD: Lee Donovan died in a police cell

FOUND DEAD: Lee Donovan died in a police cell

First published in News

A MAN who died in custody at a Gwent police station had seemed “jovial” and apparently unconcerned by the prospect of a night in a cell, an inquest was told.

But less than two-and-ahalf hours after being booked into the custody suite at Pontypool police station, Lee Donovan was found dead in his cell.

The 23-year-old, living at the Solas hostel in Clarence Place, Newport, at the time of his death in April 2008, had been arrested in the city centre at shortly after 10pm on April 25, allegedly having punched off the wing mirror of a taxi.

As Newport police station’s custody suite was being refurbished, and there were delays booking in detainees at Maindee, Mr Donovan was taken to Pontypool, where the custody suite had been recommissioned temporarily.

Mr Donovan was booked in at 10.41pm and was found in his cell, with his socks around his neck, at 1am on April 26. Despite attempts at resuscitation by police officers and paramedics, he was pronounced dead at 2.35am.

Arresting officer PC Paul Goodwin said a check of the Police National Computer when arresting Mr Donovan revealed no markers on the entry to indicate any potential problems.

Such markers, relating to issues such as drug use and potential self harm, can be added to people’s records, to highlight potential problems to the police and to indicate that the person may be considered vulnerable.

PC Goodwin told the inquest Mr Donovan told him he was a drug user who was on methadone and had been drinking cider.

PC Dominic Lonergan, who drove the police van to Pontypool, said Mr Donovan had told him he had drunk about two litres.

Former Inspector Mark Wheatstone, who had passed Pontypool as suitable for temporary use as a custody suite, said he thought checks every 30 minutes on detainees could be achieved because it was a smaller unit than Newport. He had stipulated that no vulnerable or juvenile detainees should be kept there.

Both PC Goodwin and PC Lonergan told the inquest they had not considered Mr Donovan to be vulnerable.

PC Lonergan said Mr Donovan had not told him he was on methadone, while his colleague had not told the custody sergeant at Pontypool about the methadone and cider intake.

Gwent coroner David Bowen was told it was not standard procedure at the time to take a detainees’ socks from them before leaving them in their cells, and that remains the case.

Proceeding.

Comments (10)

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10:26pm Wed 24 Oct 12

chris227 says...

cannot really blame the police for this one
cannot really blame the police for this one chris227
  • Score: 0

1:42pm Thu 25 Oct 12

cwmbran man says...

Methadone, the wonder drug designed to help users get back to work and get on with their everyday lives, prescribed to keep junkies off there faces and sedated, until gp's start using this wicked prescription drug wisely expect more tragedies.
Methadone, the wonder drug designed to help users get back to work and get on with their everyday lives, prescribed to keep junkies off there faces and sedated, until gp's start using this wicked prescription drug wisely expect more tragedies. cwmbran man
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Thu 25 Oct 12

keza1 says...

You know what dont coment unless you know the full facts Cwmbran man i just cant believe your coments & remember it can hit home at any time , i just hope it dosnt with you as ob the support you give will be none & i totally disagree about keeping junkies of there faces & sedated some people on methodone go in 2 full time jobs but ob you wouldn know as you are so biased..i just hope you dont loose a member of your family in such tragic ways ..
You know what dont coment unless you know the full facts Cwmbran man i just cant believe your coments & remember it can hit home at any time , i just hope it dosnt with you as ob the support you give will be none & i totally disagree about keeping junkies of there faces & sedated some people on methodone go in 2 full time jobs but ob you wouldn know as you are so biased..i just hope you dont loose a member of your family in such tragic ways .. keza1
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Thu 25 Oct 12

cwmbran man says...

You wanna blame someone look no further than your gp, they prescribe methadone like calpol, and have no idea how it should be used, they should also start reducing the amount month on month, from experience i know they do not, they are a disgrace and just solving one illegal drug problem with a legal drug problem, you wanna talk about drugs then lets do it as i had the displeasure of having to live with a good friend whos son was off his face on methadone and tranquilizers daily, addicts do it because they enjoy it, they have a choice, and they choose to bring misery and heartache to their families through there selfish ways, i am sorry for you loss, the blame you seek is much closer to home.
You wanna blame someone look no further than your gp, they prescribe methadone like calpol, and have no idea how it should be used, they should also start reducing the amount month on month, from experience i know they do not, they are a disgrace and just solving one illegal drug problem with a legal drug problem, you wanna talk about drugs then lets do it as i had the displeasure of having to live with a good friend whos son was off his face on methadone and tranquilizers daily, addicts do it because they enjoy it, they have a choice, and they choose to bring misery and heartache to their families through there selfish ways, i am sorry for you loss, the blame you seek is much closer to home. cwmbran man
  • Score: 0

4:20pm Thu 25 Oct 12

Llanmartinangel says...

This is another of those 'its someone else's fault' debates isn't it. If this guy hadn't 'chosen' to take drugs in the first place the GP and the Police would never enter into it. I fail to see how it's their blame.
This is another of those 'its someone else's fault' debates isn't it. If this guy hadn't 'chosen' to take drugs in the first place the GP and the Police would never enter into it. I fail to see how it's their blame. Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 0

4:38pm Thu 25 Oct 12

ohmydayz says...

cwmbran man wrote:
You wanna blame someone look no further than your gp, they prescribe methadone like calpol, and have no idea how it should be used, they should also start reducing the amount month on month, from experience i know they do not, they are a disgrace and just solving one illegal drug problem with a legal drug problem, you wanna talk about drugs then lets do it as i had the displeasure of having to live with a good friend whos son was off his face on methadone and tranquilizers daily, addicts do it because they enjoy it, they have a choice, and they choose to bring misery and heartache to their families through there selfish ways, i am sorry for you loss, the blame you seek is much closer to home.
Wrong!! Most GP's (in Newport) do not prescibe it, prescribing is done from specialist drug clinics!
[quote][p][bold]cwmbran man[/bold] wrote: You wanna blame someone look no further than your gp, they prescribe methadone like calpol, and have no idea how it should be used, they should also start reducing the amount month on month, from experience i know they do not, they are a disgrace and just solving one illegal drug problem with a legal drug problem, you wanna talk about drugs then lets do it as i had the displeasure of having to live with a good friend whos son was off his face on methadone and tranquilizers daily, addicts do it because they enjoy it, they have a choice, and they choose to bring misery and heartache to their families through there selfish ways, i am sorry for you loss, the blame you seek is much closer to home.[/p][/quote]Wrong!! Most GP's (in Newport) do not prescibe it, prescribing is done from specialist drug clinics! ohmydayz
  • Score: 0

6:05pm Thu 25 Oct 12

keza1 says...

hang on a minute i know exactly what im talking about as i was an ex user (not at all proud) but i havnt touched it for 4 yrs i never got off my face as i wanted 2 get clean , did u know this boy personally ? no ..so be4 judging rememebr theres always a story behind it , not every 1 is taking meth & getting of there face a minority do & so do non users every day go in pubs drinking on there beneifits an addiction isnt as easy as people think it is specially when there sad circumstances & the police never say he was off his face he was joyful & no reason 4 concern & i dont know a gp in newport who prescibes it its done thro the Gps in clinics x
hang on a minute i know exactly what im talking about as i was an ex user (not at all proud) but i havnt touched it for 4 yrs i never got off my face as i wanted 2 get clean , did u know this boy personally ? no ..so be4 judging rememebr theres always a story behind it , not every 1 is taking meth & getting of there face a minority do & so do non users every day go in pubs drinking on there beneifits an addiction isnt as easy as people think it is specially when there sad circumstances & the police never say he was off his face he was joyful & no reason 4 concern & i dont know a gp in newport who prescibes it its done thro the Gps in clinics x keza1
  • Score: 0

6:14pm Thu 25 Oct 12

cwmbran man says...

I think you will find the joyfull jovial effect was the initial hit of the methodone and in no way describes how the lad was, its likely that a couple of hours later when this heroin substitute was wearing off he then became suicidal, its at this point druggies in general top up with dizapan or something similar, before an early nite and tomorrow is groundhog day all over again, these people have their futures in their hands but choose to waste them.
I think you will find the joyfull jovial effect was the initial hit of the methodone and in no way describes how the lad was, its likely that a couple of hours later when this heroin substitute was wearing off he then became suicidal, its at this point druggies in general top up with dizapan or something similar, before an early nite and tomorrow is groundhog day all over again, these people have their futures in their hands but choose to waste them. cwmbran man
  • Score: 0

6:43pm Thu 25 Oct 12

keza1 says...

well all i can say is your talking about who ever u lived with as not every person is the same & it dosnt wear of afta a couple of hours either it prob did with your sons friend cos he was still using drugs ..i think be4 you coment wait till the inquest is over as i dont think u know what your on a bout ..
well all i can say is your talking about who ever u lived with as not every person is the same & it dosnt wear of afta a couple of hours either it prob did with your sons friend cos he was still using drugs ..i think be4 you coment wait till the inquest is over as i dont think u know what your on a bout .. keza1
  • Score: 0

11:03pm Thu 25 Oct 12

Limestonecowboy says...

cwmbran man wrote:
You wanna blame someone look no further than your gp, they prescribe methadone like calpol, and have no idea how it should be used, they should also start reducing the amount month on month, from experience i know they do not, they are a disgrace and just solving one illegal drug problem with a legal drug problem, you wanna talk about drugs then lets do it as i had the displeasure of having to live with a good friend whos son was off his face on methadone and tranquilizers daily, addicts do it because they enjoy it, they have a choice, and they choose to bring misery and heartache to their families through there selfish ways, i am sorry for you loss, the blame you seek is much closer to home.
Your comment 'addicts do it....they have a choice' however are addicts capable of making a choice?
[quote][p][bold]cwmbran man[/bold] wrote: You wanna blame someone look no further than your gp, they prescribe methadone like calpol, and have no idea how it should be used, they should also start reducing the amount month on month, from experience i know they do not, they are a disgrace and just solving one illegal drug problem with a legal drug problem, you wanna talk about drugs then lets do it as i had the displeasure of having to live with a good friend whos son was off his face on methadone and tranquilizers daily, addicts do it because they enjoy it, they have a choice, and they choose to bring misery and heartache to their families through there selfish ways, i am sorry for you loss, the blame you seek is much closer to home.[/p][/quote]Your comment 'addicts do it....they have a choice' however are addicts capable of making a choice? Limestonecowboy
  • Score: 0

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