'Changes made' by police after man accused of Greggs theft was wrongly handed sex crime papers

A two-day inquest at Teesside Coroner's Court concluded that the Redcar died under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Police have said they have 'made changes' following the death of a man who had been issued incorrect release papers - wrongly stating he had been arrested over a child sex offence.

Brian Temple had in fact been arrested over an alleged theft of sausage rolls from Greggs.

A two-day inquest at Teesside Coroner's Court concluded that the Redcar man died under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Due to these circumstances, the 34-year-old's death on December 31 2017, could not be ruled as suicide.

Six months prior to his death, on 8 June, he had been arrested over the alleged pastry theftfrom the bakery chain, but upon release from police custody he was given incorrect release papers detailing a sexual offence.

The error to the release papers occurred when a police detention officer on shift at the time had pressed the enter key and selected the incorrect offence.

Instead of stating theft, the papers instead read 'engaging 13-15 year old in sexual activity'.

After arriving home from custody, Mr Temple gave his release papers to his then-girlfriend not knowing about the error.

Mr Temple's then-girlfriend told people of the incorrect information, which led to a number of incidents. He was reportedly verbally abused in the street, attacked in his own home and hit around the head by a golf club.

The officer, employed by an external company, has since received management advice and changes to the IT system means this is 'likely to never happen again', the second day of the inquest heard.

Coroner Claire Bailey heard evidence from Cleveland Police officers who had worked with Mr Temple prior to his death in December 2017.

In his statement, PC Chris Stoddard explained that the detention officer did not check before printing and handing the release papers to him.

In a statement read out by Coronor Officer Nick Owen, PC Stoddard explained to the court that following the incident, there has been a 'DO NOT USE' button installed on the system - "so this error is extremely unlikely to happen again".

Custody manager, Sergeant Perry gave evidence and added to Mr Stoddard's statement that an incorrect charge can no longer be selected under the new formatting system.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Alison Coaker also gave evidence at the hearing, explaining she had grown up in Redcar alongside the Temple family and knew Mr Temple since he was eight years old.

She described him as 'mischievous' and a 'cheeky chap' and explained she would often encounter him on Redcar's high street, where he would socialise with peers and sometimes allegedly steal from supermarkets to fund his alcohol addiction.

PCSO Coaker explained Mr Temple never mentioned the incorrect charge papers and was never aware of the rumours circulating the community, which accused him of being a paedophile.

She described him as 'quite nice' when he was sober, and was shocked to learn in early 2018, of his passing.

PC Holly Williams, also present in court, said she visited Mr Temple's property on Redcar's West Dyke Road in the weeks leading up to his death for a safeguarding check.

She explained he did not want officers present at his home as he believed it would make the rumours seem stronger.

She explained not looking into Mr Temple's history and release papers prior to the visit but had brief knowledge of the assaults he had been victim of as a result of rumours, the hearing was told.

The final person to give evidence on behalf of the force was former civilian investigator, Michael Stokes, who personally apologised to Mr Temple's family, and passed on his condolences before reading out the statement he gave to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

He explained that on 1 December 2017, he received the complaint from Mr Temple about the mistakes on the charge sheet and then visited him and his family with Detective Constable Hunt to speak to him in person. They liaised with Mr Temple, who was happy to go forward with a police complaint and wanted steps taken to make sure that this would never happen to anyone else.

After his death, the IOPC launched an investigation into Cleveland Police and the circumstances around the error on the release papers.

Upon hearing evidence from police, statements from Brian's family, and HMP Durham and Holme House staff, where Mr Temple spent nine weeks between September and November 2017; Coroner Bailey reached the conclusion.

Coroner Bailey added that Cleveland Police had since made changes a "preventing future deaths report" would not be required for the force.

After the inquest, a Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “Cleveland Police offer our deepest sympathies to the family of Mr Temple at this incredibly difficult time.

"Following the tragic death of Mr Temple Cleveland Police have implemented changes to the information people are given on release from custody and we have been fully engaged in the inquest process.”