Pontins worker tells inquest of row prior to father-of-three dying in police custody

Paul Gladwell, from Colchester, died at Pontins Pakefield

Paul Gladwell, a Colchester dad-of-three, died at Pontins in Pakefield, near Lowestoft, on Valentine's Day 2017 - Credit: Archant/Supplied by family

A member of staff at Pontins said he thought a "threatening" guest was "faking" being asleep, shortly before he became ill in police custody and subsequently died.

Paul Reynolds, also known as Paul Gladwell, died two days after being detained by security staff at Pontins in Pakefield on Valentine’s Day 2017 and later arrested by Suffolk police after an altercation with another family staying at the holiday park.

The second day of his inquest, on Tuesday, April 20, heard evidence from David Foster, who said the 38-year-old "began making snoring noises" when police arrived at the scene.

Paul Gladwell, a father-of-three from Colchester, died at Pontins Pakefield in 2017

Paul Gladwell, a father-of-three from Colchester, died at Pontins Pakefield in 2017 - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Mr Foster, who was off duty at the time of the incident, said the victim's partner Carrie Bennett walked in and began shouting at a woman sitting on the same table as him before Mr Reynolds, from Colchester, arrived.

He said: "At first he came across as if he was trying to get her away. Then he walked away and came back and in seconds he was raging.

Pontins, Pakefield.PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Pontins, Pakefield.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

"I said it wasn't the time or place because there were children present but then he was in my face.

"He approached me and I felt threatened. He put his head towards mine and said he would show me how much of a **** I am."

One of the resort's three security staff then restrained the father-of-three on the floor, with Mr Foster's help, with the other two members of security attending to Ms Bennett.

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He said concerns had not been raised over Mr Reynolds' health as he was talking until police arrived, including apologising and asking to be freed.

Mr Foster said: "He began snoring as soon as police walked in. I checked he was breathing and his eyes were open so I thought he was faking.

"He was read his rights and just grunted, then refused to walk on his own or stand on his own two feet.

"His girlfriend shouted that he always played up when police arrived."

On Monday, the hearing heard how officers stopped their vehicle “when they noticed Mr Reynolds being unwell” on the way to the police station in Great Yarmouth.

Area coroner Jacqueline Devonish said officers performed CPR until paramedics arrived, but the 38-year-old was pronounced dead in hospital two days later.

The inquest, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.

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