CCTV footage shows the final moments of a grandfather who died in a police van

Peterlee Police Station Photo: ITV News

A grieving family has taken the difficult decision to release CCTV footage showing his final moments.

Relatives of Leonard McCourt say they have been forced into releasing the footage after an officer involved in his arrest was allowed to keep his job.

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission highlighted a catalogue of errors by police following Mr McCourt's arrest in 2010.

Officers used pepper spray on him before transferring him from his home in Seaham to Peterlee police station. But an inquest ruled that by the time he arrived at the station he was already dead.

The IPCC report pointed to failures in the way officers had looked after Mr McCourt on the journey to the police station.

The inquest ruled he had died of a heart disease, which was not helped by the stress of the events of the day and excess of alcohol. It recorded a verdict of misadventure.

Leonard McCourt Credit: ITV

No criminal proceedings were brought against the officers involved in this case. Two of them have since left the force. Earlier this month a third was found guilty of breaching the standards of professionalism expected by the force and given a final warning. But he has been allowed to continue serving with them.

It is this decision that has prompted the family to release the CCTV footage to demonstrate why they are so angry at the outcome.

The footage, captured by a security camera inside the police station and released by the IPCC, shows officers leaving Mr McCourt lying on the floor handcuffed. They wait for five minutes before releasing his handcuffs and nine minutes before they attempt any CPR.

Durham Police say that they have disciplined the officer involved and taken steps to review their policies.

Since this tragic event we have reviewed our policies and procedures regarding the safe transportation and detention of people taken into custody, as we are aware that the inquest jury found that Mr McCourt died in transit.

We have also looked at our processes for ensuring all relevant officers and staff continue to receive appropriate first aid and refresher training.

We continue to extend our sympathies to Mr McCourt’s family

– Supt Darren Ellis, Head of Professional Standards, Durham Constabulary

See Kenny Toal's full report here. YOU MAY FIND THE IMAGES DISTURBING