‘Tell me how my husband died’
“ANDREW Jordan was 28. He was married with a four-year-old daughter and part of a close-knit family. Andrew, from Erith, was an ex-pupil of the former Picardy School, Belvedere. He suffered from depression. Andrew Jordan is also dead.” (Local newspaper quote)
How did Andrew Jordan die? That’s what his wife wanted to know.
His death occurred in inexplicable circumstances involving fourteen officers from Bexleyheath police station, South East London.
What started as a medical emergency became an unexplained death at the hands of the Met Police. There was no history of violence or criminal activity in Andrew’s life. His family say he was a gentle giant despite having mental illness.
On that day in question, 7th October 2003, Andrew had a prior appointment at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Sidcup. Staff from the hospital arrived at 10.45am to take him to the hospital. They arrived with two officers. When Andrew saw the Met police officers he clearly became hesitant, fearful, of what had previously always been a normal visit to the hospital.
Inexplicably more officers began arriving – a total of fourteen during a period of around two hours according to neighbours who witnessed the arrivals. No contact was made with any of his family to tell them that there was an emergency situation.
No-one, outside of police, knows what happened in those two hours. The staff from Queen Mary’s were apparently not allowed into the house, they stayed outside for the whole two hours the police were in there. It is not known exactly how Andrew received so many bruises and cuts to his body, most of which were largely around the face.
One thing is known. Andrew died approximately three hours after the first officers arrived at his home. A subsequent post-mortem revealed the injuries he had received could only have been caused by punches delivered from the police.
If there was indeed a real emergency, the nearest admissions unit was at Woolwich. Inexplicably police & staff chose to take him to Sidcup. They didnt take the shortest route but chose to opt for a long winded route via Crayford. En route the ambulance got stuck in side roads only cars could pass through and the hospital staff could not resuscitate him. Andrew was pronounced dead upon arrival at Sidcup.
At the subsequent inquiry in 2006 it was revealed that officers had restrained Andrew in his flat and held him in such a way he was asphyxiated. Methods used by the officers included handcuffing, restraint procedures, being strapped in such a way it severely restricted the movement of his body plus blood flow, and holding his body in a dangerous semi-prone position for at least 10 minutes. Asphyxia sets in usually after just four minutes.
Each of the officers had been trained in positional asphyxiation yet Andrew still died. The violent blows to his body were never explained. Officers denied Andrew had suffered any injury or harm, only saying that Andrew had bitten one officer.
It was claimed at the inquest that those in attendance had thought Andrew was hyperventilating, yet when his hands turned cold and his lips went purple only was it then realised Andrew’s life had been placed in great danger.
‘The inquest has heard very disturbing evidence about the treatment and care of a mentally ill man in police custody. This case once again raises serious concerns about the ongoing dangers of current police restraint methods, especially where prolonged and dangerous use of the prone position occurs. Andrew’s death also highlights the inappropriate training in the dangers of positional asphyxia given to London Ambulance Service staff. It is a damning indictment of the failure of state agencies to learn the lessons of previous deaths.’ (Inquest 2006)
No officers were ever suspended from duty nor charged. Yet another black man dead at the hands of police.