Arrested man looked beaten before death - inquest

A man who died hours after being arrested had “significant injuries” and “looked like he’d been beaten with a belt” before his death, an inquest has heard.

Mohamud Hassan, 24, died on 9 January 2021 after being found unresponsive at a flat on Newport Road, Cardiff.

The previous evening he had been arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace and was released without charge.

Two witnesses told an inquest into his death that Mr Hassan said police had beaten him and caused his injures.

Sulieman Mohamed, Mr Hassan’s uncle, told the inquest about the moment he saw his nephew being resuscitated by paramedics, describing how “from the bellybutton upwards, all his body was red".

He told the jury he had first seen his nephew at around 11:15 that day, a few hours after his release, and that he was “taken aback” by his appearance.

Mr Mohamed described his nephew's injuries as "significant", adding that his "lip was cut", and that there were blood stains on his clothing. He added that Mr Hassan looked "tired, frail and in need of help".

He said when he asked what had happened, his nephew replied "the police, the police”.

Asked about his nephew’s physical appearance, Mr Mohamed described blood stains and redness on his body, saying "it was a state that I wouldn’t want to see anyone in".

The jury also heard from Mr Hassan’s aunt, Zainab Hassan, who also saw him in the hours after his release and she said she tried to convince him to get medical help but he refused, saying he was tired.

"I was worried if there was internal damage" she told the jury.

The jury was also shown CCTV images of Mr Hassan walking away from Cardiff Bay Police Station and getting a taxi to Newport Road.

PC Samantha Taylor told the inquest she saw Mr Hassan near the police station and did not notice any stains to his clothing - she described him at one point as “jogging across the road”.

Bashir Yousef, a taxi driver who picked up Mr Hassan in Cardiff Bay, also gave evidence and said he saw blood stains on Mr Hassan’s tracksuit bottoms.

He said they spoke in Somali and when he asked what had happened, Mr Hassan replied “the police did this to me”.

On Tuesday, the jury heard more details of the interactions between police officers and Mr Hassan at Cardiff Bay Police Station, following on from previous evidence.

It heard how an officer pushed his head down to the ground as he was being moved from the police van to cells, being shown CCTV footage of that moment.

An arresting officer, Sgt Russell O'Rourke, also issued a statement, saying he heard a "hocking noise" believing Mr Hassan was about to spit.

"I then turned rapidly to Mr Hassan’s head and moved it down to my side to ensure he could not spit, either at me or my colleagues as I had been made aware he had been spitting in the van," the jury was told.

"Once I was sure his face was directed away from us, his face was directed down to the ground."

The statement went on to say Sgt O’Rourke believed his actions were “proportionate and justified”.

Last week, the jury heard that Mr Hassan's cause of death was "unascertained" following a post mortem examination.