No police officer will face criminal charges over the death of a ‘doting’ dad after he was arrested outside his home.
Andre Moura, 30, died several hours after he was detained on suspicion of breaching the peace on the night of Friday, 6 July, 2018.
Greater Manchester Police said they were called to reports of a ‘domestic disturbance’ at around 11.35pm on Seventh Avenue in Limeside, Oldham.
Officers used CS spray to restrain Mr Moura outside his house before he was taken to Ashton-under-Lyne police station, they said, but that ‘on arrival’ Mr Moura was ‘found unresponsive in the back of the police van’.
He was then taken to Tameside hospital, where he was declared dead at 1.30am.
Paying tribute to Mr Moura, a Portuguese national who move to the UK around 2013, neighbours described him as the ‘doting’ dad to four young girls.
The community was left shocked by the circumstances of the death and demanded answers.
A neighbour Barry Lee Martin, witnessed much of the incident and captured it on a video which he shared with the Manchester Evening News.
He claimed to have seen a police officer knee Mr Moura in the head ‘several times’ as he was being restrained.
GMP made a mandatory referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following the incident and all ten officers who attended were placed on restricted duties.
Mr Martin’s video was seized as part of the probe and IOPC investigators also looked into his allegation that police waited ‘around 15 or 20 minutes’ after Mr Moura was put into the van before taking him to Ashton station, rather than a hospital.
In the video, Mr Moura can be heard screaming and telling officers they had ‘hurt’ him.
Mr Martin is heard asking police: “Is he alright?
“You just kneed him about… several times [sic].”
An officer replies: “Yeah, I know pal.”
Mr Martin then said: “It was a little excessive him kneeing him then.”
An officer replied: “Yeah, you stood here scrapping with him? No. Go back in your house, pal.”
Earlier in the video, an officer can be heard shouting: “Put your hands behind your back. Stop resisting or you’re gonna get sprayed again.”
Mr Moura is heard shouting ‘help me, help’.
Following a 12-month investigation, the watchdog passed a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service recommending criminal charges against five officers.
One officer was referred for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and misconduct in public office, and four others for misconduct in public office.
But another year later, the CPS has decided not to pursue the charges.
It is understood the decision was made around August 18 and all parties, including the family of Mr Moura, were written to.
Jenny Hopkins, head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism in the CPS, said: ” The CPS has carefully considered all of the available evidence in relation to the death of Mr Andre Moura and we have concluded that our legal test for prosecution is not met.
“In these circumstances, we cannot pursue any criminal charges against any of the five police officers involved.”.
“Given the seriousness of the criminal offences considered, the complexity of the evidence and the tragic circumstances around Mr Moura’s death, this process has taken some time but it was vital that the evidence was reviewed with utmost care.
“We considered the actions of the three police officers involved in the arrest of Mr Moura, and also the actions or inactions of the same three officers and two others involved in the treatment of Mr Moura after he had been arrested and put in a police van.
“This included footage from police body-worn video cameras, mobile phone footage from a witness, evidence from an independent expert in police restraint, and evidence from a consultant in accident and emergency medicine.
“We have concluded there is insufficient evidence for any manslaughter, assault or misconduct in public office criminal charges against any of those officers.
“We offer our deepest sympathies to the family and have written to them in full to explain our legal reasoning. We have also offered to meet with them if they would like any further explanation.”
It is understood all ten GMP officers remain on restricted duties pending the outcome of internal disciplinary proceedings.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said: “First and foremost, our condolences remain with Andre Moura’s family following his tragic death.
“Greater Manchester Police treat incidents like this with the utmost concern, and we fully supported the IOPC investigation to ensure that the conduct of our officers during this incident was scrutinised at the highest independent level.”
An IOPC spokesperson said: ” We completed our investigation in August 2019 into the actions of Greater Manchester Police officers prior to the death of Andre Moura.
“At the conclusion of our investigation, we referred five GMP officers to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which has decided not to charge the officers with any offence.
“The threshold for an IOPC referral is lower than the threshold applied by the CPS when they consider whether to charge someone with a criminal offence.
“We have now informed all interested parties of the decision. Mr Moura’s family now has the option to exercise their right to review the decision by the CPS.
“We have also shared our final report with GMP who have agreed with our findings. We will consider issuing further information after any potential CPS right to review process is complete.”