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Mystery of Para death in custody.

A BLACK ex-Para was left dying in handcuffs on the floor of a police station, an inquest heard yesterday.

Officers failed to help Christopher Alder because they thought the 37-year-old father of two was asleep or fooling around.

They then changed their story of how he died after his arrest outside a nightclub, it was claimed.

Mr Alder's sister, Janet, said: "They all gave me different versions. One officer told me he was sitting next to a policeman when he collapsed.

"A few weeks later, I was told he was brought out of a police van unconscious."

Coroner Geoffrey Saul said there was no video evidence to suggest any assault by police. Mr Alder's cause of death was "undetermined".

But he told the inquest jury: "You need to ask how a fit and apparently well man went to a nightclub then met his death hours later in a police station."

Mr Alder, of Hull, hit his head on the road after an early morning fracas outside a club.

He was taken to hospital where he became "extremely troublesome".

He was three times over the drink-drive limit. But staff did not believe he was seriously hurt.

Police were called and Mr Alder was arrested.

He was driven in a police van to Queen's Gardens police station, in Hull city centre.

Mr Alder was partly dragged and carried from the van. He was then laid on the floor while officers discussed what to do next.

Twelve minutes passed before it was noticed he had fallen quiet. An ambulance was called but Mr Alder was pronounced dead at the scene.

Five policemen - PCs Nigel Dawson, Mark Ellerington, Neil Blakey and Matthew Barr and Sergeant John Dunn - are represented by barristers.

Humberside Police Chief Constable David Westwood also has his own barrister. The Hull hearing continues.
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Author:Dennis, Steve
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 4, 2000
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