POLICE officers who restrained a Newport man on his bedroom floor could not have “done anything more” to liaise with the Welsh Ambulance Service, an inquest has heard.

An inquest into the death of Mouayed Bashir, who died at the age of 29 on February 17, 2021, has entered its second week at Newport Coroners Court.

Today, January 23, jurors heard from sergeant Tomos Oates who was the third Gwent Police officer to attend the call at Mr Bashir’s family home in Maesglas.

Mr Oates told the court how it had been his first day back in work following weeks of illness and he had been filling in paperwork when he answered his colleagues’ call for back-up.

He described the “box room” in which Mr Bashir had barricaded himself upstairs, detailing parts of a metallic bed frame at his feet and clothes strewn "almost ankle deep" across the floor.

Mr Bashir was repeatedly banging his head on an open wardrobe, he told the court.

Mr Oates did not recall a distinct discussion on the use of restraint but said officers believed it necessary to protect themselves and Mr Bashir in a confined and potentially dangerous space.

They cuffed Mr Bashir’s hands behind his back and secured fast straps around his ankles and above his knees.

Mr Oates said the restraints involved less force than officers using their own body weight and could have helped to quickly move the 29-year-old down the "narrow stairs" for medical treatment.

‘Someone of strength’

Returning to work after a bout of illness, Mr Oates attended the incident with a personal pulse and oximeter in his pocket which was not issued by Gwent Police.

After clipping the device onto Mr Bashir's fingertips, he recalled his "disbelief" at the numbers which indicated very low oxygen levels and an unexpectedly slow pulse, and compared the reading with his Fit Bit to ensure they were accurate.

Officers directly relayed this information to the Welsh Ambulance Service.

Mr Oates said: “We gave them the info we had, which was we’ve got a man with a very low oxygen, and it is up to them what they do with that information.

“We made several calls to the ambulance service expressing our concern with him. I don’t think we could have done anything more with them.

“There was an assumption he had taken something, whether that was right or wrong. But we could see he was having a mental episode and wanted the ambulance service to attend.”

Fiona Murphy KC, representing Mr Bashir’s family at the inquest, asked Mr Oates whether officers considered removing the restraints as the 29-year-old became less animated.

Mr Oates said it would have required more force to re-apply the restraints if Mr Bashir, who he perceived as “someone of strength”, began again to flail, kick and bang his head.

‘Very upsetting’

Ms Murphy asked how officers interpreted the signs of an acute behavioural disturbance (ABD), including the fact Mr Bashir was only wearing underwear when they entered the room.

Mr Oates said: “It was early in the morning. It doesn’t mean that he disrobed himself. It was eight or nine in the morning and he was in his bedroom. It doesn’t immediately say to me – yes, that person’s got ABD.”

John Beggs KC, representing Gwent Police, noted Mr Oates had only experienced one likely case of an ABD in his six years of police experience at the time – an incident with the Metropolitan Police in London in which as many as 20 officers struggled to restrain a man who was “chewing the floor”.

Mr Oates revealed he had dealt with another likely case this winter which saw a male fight several people, jump from a roof, scream the world was “on fire” and strip naked inside a police van.

Mr Oates said he was more inclined to believe Mr Bashir was suffering from ABD after watching the body-worn camera footage – but it would not have changed his decision to use the restraints.

“There wasn’t really the option to say let’s close the door and leave him to it and maybe then he will relax,” he said.

A member of the jury asked whether the officer heard issues with Mr Bashir’s breathing on the floor. Mr Oates said Mr Bashir was not breathing well, adding: “It was quite unpleasant and very upsetting, with respect to his family.”

The inquest continues.