A BLACKWOOD man who was described as “zombie-like” and was “mumbling and gurning” died shortly after being restrained by police, an inquest has heard.

Simon Love, 32, died on Blackwood High Street, near the junction with Pentwyn Road, on June 25, 2018.

Witnesses described Mr Love as “zombie-like” and “not of this world” as he walked down High Street at around 2.30pm.

READ MORE:

The jury at Newport Coroner’s Court was shown CCTV footage which showed Mr Love unsteady on his feet and stumbling into the road.

A police officer pulled up after being alerted to Mr Love by passers-by, and attempted to keep him from walking into the road.

The officer – Joseph Powell – told the court that Mr Love was “shuffling and juddering” along the pavement, and “had both arms outstretched.”

“His eyes were bulging and there was an orange substance on his chin – possibly vomit,” PC Powell said. “He could barely speak.

“As I was trying to speak to the man, he was shaking uncontrollably.

“He was in need of medical attention.”

PC Powell said that the “overriding sense” was that he needed to restrain Mr Love after they had both fallen to the ground as PC Powell tried to prevent Mr Love from stumbling into the road.

The officer called for assistance, saying that Mr Love was being “difficult”, as well as calling for an ambulance.

Two more officers arrived and Mr Love was handcuffed and moved onto his side.

Mr Love was given first aid treatment by the officers, but then became “pale and clammy.”

A further call was made requesting an ambulance be prioritised at 2.38pm, before further calls at 2.47pm saying Mr Love was struggling to breath and again at 2.52pm.

The handcuffs were removed at around 2.54pm, and shortly afterwards Mr Love stopped breathing. One of the officers in attendance, PC John Waller, said CPR took place for “around 20 minutes”, before Mr Love was pronounced dead.

Senior coroner for Gwent Caroline Saunders asked why Mr Love’s handcuffs were not removed when he was reportedly struggling to breath.

“I felt that in the position we had him in, we could treat him the best we could,” said PC Neil Millett.

PC Millett said he had considered removing the handcuffs, but Mr Love had been attempting to resist attempts to give him oxygen through a mask or take his pulse.

“Taking an officer away to restrain him when we all had important roles to play, it didn’t make any sense at the time,” he said.

Earlier, the court heard a statement from Adrian Turner, an estate agent at Parklands Estate Agents – outside which the incident took place.

Mr Turner said Mr Love was “grumbling” and “stumbling into the road,” adding that he believed the man to have been “dangerous.”

“There was nothing I noticed that was untoward. The officers acted exactly how I would expect them to,” he said.

Luke Phillips, who owned a tiling shop on High Street at the time, said that Mr Love was kicking out “in a running motion” soon after being handcuffed, and then started “kicking his toe forcefully into the floor.”

He added that “it didn’t look like the police officer was using excessive force.”

Mr Love’s family chose not to attend the inquest, or have any representation.

A statement from Mr Love’s father Jack Love was read out, where he said he “was aware that [Simon] had taken drugs from when he was about 17,” and that “when Simon was 21, he took four big drug overdoses in six weeks” – all of which were with cocaine.

The inquest continues.