Police told family of father who died after restraint that he was sleeping
- Credit: Archant/Supplied by family
Police told the family of a father-of-three, who died after he was restrained at Pontins, that he was sleeping when he appeared unconscious, an inquest heard.
Paul Reynolds, also known as Paul Gladwell, was detained by security staff at Pontins in Pakefield on Valentine’s Day 2017 and was later arrested by Suffolk police and put in a marked van.
Officers stopped the vehicle “when they noticed Mr Reynolds being unwell” on the way to the police station in Great Yarmouth, Monday’s hearing at Suffolk Coroner's Court in Ipswich was told.
Area coroner Jacqueline Devonish said officers performed CPR until paramedics arrived, but the 38-year-old, from Colchester, was pronounced dead in hospital two days later.
His partner of seven years, Carrie Bennett, told the inquest the pair had travelled up to Pontins Pakefield a few days before Valentine’s Day with their three sons. She said they had enjoyed their holiday up until an incident at the venue’s clubhouse that evening.
Ms Bennett said she had grown annoyed after noticing another child allegedly hitting one of their sons the previous evening and after witnessing it again late on Valentine’s Day decided to confront the youngster’s parents before heading back to their chalet.
She said that Mr Reynolds told her to “leave it”, but added that she did speak to the guest.
“I said ‘can you do me a favour and have a word with your brat kid? She keeps coming over and smacking my boy’,” Ms Bennett told the coroner.
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She said it “just escalated from there” and described security staff rushing over to Mr Reynolds and trying to “grab him”.
She described being removed from the venue herself and around 10 to 15 minutes later said she saw Mr Reynolds being carried to a police van outside.
“They were just holding him,” she said. “His head was flopping forwards.
“I shouted to them, why are they carrying him like that."
Ms Bennett said she was told he was asleep but that she did not believe this as he snores, sometimes loudly, when he is asleep.
She said she was then told: “He is snoring”.
Ms Bennett also said that neither she nor Mr Reynolds were drunk, but that both of them had been drinking that day.
The first day of the inquest also heard evidence from the 38-year-old's support worker, Dale Prentice, who described Mr Reynolds as a “gentle giant” who was “very protective over his family”.
“Paul was quite short when he was younger and he built himself up to look after himself," he said, adding that he had been bullied during childhood.
Mr Prentice said Mr Reynolds was autistic and had been deemed unfit to work.
He said that he was an open and straightforward person who was "unable to lie", adding that after his official support duties stopped in 2015, they continued their friendship.
He said he was “distressed” when he was told of his death, adding: “I would be lying if I didn’t say I thought about him every day, even now."
Mr Prentice also told the coroner Mr Reynolds would drink alcohol daily, adding: “He used to have around eight cans (of Strongbow cider) a day.”
And he said that although Mr Reynolds and Ms Bennett clearly loved each other, they had a “volatile” relationship.
Mr Gladwell’s mother, Carol Hurst, told the inquest her son had been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2002 and left home at 20 to live in supported housing in Colchester.
She added that he was “obsessive with cleaning”, and “couldn’t stand to be on his own”.
The inquest, listed for four weeks, continues.