July 3, 2013 16:41

Reggae artist Smiley Culture died by stabbing himself during police raid

An inquest jury rules that the singer took his own life during a drugs operation

Reggae artist Smiley Culture died by stabbing himself during police raid
Reggae star Smiley Culture died after stabbing himself in the chest during a police raid, an inquest jury has ruled.

The 48-year-old singer, real name David Emmanuel, died at his home in Warlingham, Surrey, in March 2011 during a police drugs investigation. As the BBC report, the hearing was told that the officer in charge of supervising the singer also had responsibility for completing paperwork related to the search. Coroner Richard Travers said he would be suggesting changes to the way police supervised prisoners during searches.

Returning the verdict, the jury foreman said: "David Victor Emmanuel took his own life. Although the tragic events... were unforeseeable, giving one officer the responsibility of supervising Mr Emmanuel and, at the same time the premises search book, was a contributory factor in his death."

The jury, which reached a majority verdict on Mr Emmanuel's death, said he stood up and "obtained a knife from an unknown location".

Merlin Emmanuel, the singer's cousin, said after the verdict: "We have lost an integral part of our family. He had a lot of hope and he had a lot to live for. Why he should have wanted to end his life in that way I do not know, but I do not think he should have been in a position to do that."

Scotland Yard said in a statement: "The inquest heard how a seemingly calm situation unexpectedly escalated into an incident which was to have the most tragic of consequences. As the jury have stated, this escalation was unforeseeable. The response of the officers involved was immediate, with an ambulance called while emergency first aid was administered in a concerted attempt to save Mr Emmanuel's life."

In 2011, the Independent Police Complaints Commission ('IPCC') cleared officers of committing any criminal offences during the operation, after having previously ruled that they found no evidence that could lead to charges of misconduct.

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