Man who died in Birmingham police custody carried sickle cell trait

For Mikeyfrom Birmingham Post
18th November 2009

A Birmingham man who died in police custody carried the sickle cell trait which could have played a part in his death, a tribunal heard.

Michael Powell, aged 38, carried the trait which according to research, coupled with severe physical exertion, could lead to sudden death. Mr Powell, was taken to Thornhill Road Police Station in Handsworth, after causing damage to his mother’s home in Wilton Road, Lozells, on September 6, 2003.

The father-of-three, who had a history of mental illness and drug problems, died while in police custody. His family have maintained that the police’s behaviour during the arrest was racially-motivated and he would have been treated differently had he been white.

The inquest heard that Dr Dennis Clive Bouch, a recently retired home office pathologist, carried out a second post-mortem examination on Mr Powell’s body on September 18, 2003, in the presence of three other pathologists.

During his lengthy examination, Dr Bouch found that apart from a laceration on his wrist, Mr Powell carried no external injuries which could have caused his death. He also said there were no bruising called tramlines consistent with being hit by a police baton.

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