Tributes to man who died after incident at Mappin & Webb on Coney Street in York

Sam Diatta
Sam Diatta suffered a medical episode at Mappin & Webb in York. Credit: North Yorkshire Police/Naveed Younis

The family of a man who died after being restrained in an incident at a jewellery shop say he was a "gentle giant".

Sam Diatta, 39, suffered medical difficulties after police were called following a disturbance at Mappin & Webb, on Coney Street, in York, on Tuesday, 26 July. 

In a statement, his family said he was a "beloved son and brother".

They added: "Sam was a wonderful member of our family who will be greatly missed by us, his friends and family around the world."

Officers attended the shop after several 999 calls from members of the public reporting a disturbance. Mr Diatta was taken to York District Hospital but later died.

A medical investigation is being conducted into the cause of his death. 

Three men who were arrested have been released on bail.

Mr Diatta, who was half Senegalese, was a keen sportsman, playing for a rugby team in York.

His family said he developed mental health issues in his teenage years, but added: "A gentle giant, who was kind and generous and loved by all who met him, he had a strong Christian faith and with two others led the Christian Union at York College."

A thanksgiving service will be held at a later date.

North Yorkshire Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct because of the involvement of officers in the incident before Mr Diatta's death.

The force is appealing for witnesses to the incident on Coney Street. Anyone with information should call 101.