Police “couldn’t contain” Mouayed Bashir without restraint - officer

Mr Bashir suffered a cardiac arrest shortly after being put into the ambulance. Credit: Family photo

A police officer has told an inquest into the death of a 29 year old man in Newport that she believed the situation “could not be contained” without the use of restraint.

Mouayed Bashir, who was 29, died following a cardiac arrest after being restrained by officers at the home he shared with his parents.

PC Laura Edwards, who was the first officer at the scene, said that in her opinion, restraint was necessary.

“I don’t believe we could have contained [the situation] in that environment”, PC Edwards told the hearing.

“In my opinion we couldn’t have contained it [without restraint].”

Mr Bashir's family said the date of the inquest was a "step forward" Credit: PA Images

The inquest heard that PC Edwards arrived at the address on Maesglas Crescent at 850am following an emergency call made by Mr Bashir’s parents.

She was asked about a “warning marker” police had put on the address to indicate past contact with Mr Bashir, relating to drugs and firearms.

PC Edwards said she was “concerned” about the firearms marker and called for backup from another unit.

Police bodycam footage played to the jury showed the officer and another police constable, Jac Edwards, attempting to gain access to Mouayed’s bedroom, which had been barricaded from the inside.

The footage shows Mr Bashir on the ground in his underpants. The room is full of debris and Mr Bashir is groaning loudly and kicking out. 

PC Edwards said she believed the kicks were aimed at PC Williams.

“He kicked as Officer Williams went towards him”, PC Edwards told the hearing.

“So I believed he was kicking at him.”

She added that she “definitely” believed the episode was related to drugs.

“People don’t tend to act that way unless they’re under the influence of something”, she told the jury.

Questioned by Fiona Murphy KC on behalf of Mr Bashir’s family, PC Edwards said that she hadn’t at the time considered that “Acute Behavioural Disturbance” (ABD) could be the cause of Mouayed’s actions. 

The court heard that officers had received training in ABD before the incident in February 2021, with further training since then. 

Quoting from training materials, Ms Murphy said guidance on ABD included the catchphrase “contain not restrain”, and said a suspected case of ABD “would warrant a Category one emergency response” from the Welsh ambulance service.

In this case, it took around an hour for the ambulance to arrive. 

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…

PC Edwards said she’d received further training in ABD since the incident, and agreed that Mouayed’s behaviour could have been caused by the condition. 

PC Jac Williams, who arrived at the scene shortly after PC Edwards, admitted being “scared” due to “the shouting and screaming” coming from inside the bedroom.

In spite of that, PC Williams said, he wanted to “get eyes on” Mr Bashir.

“I am a Police officer and it is my duty to help people”, he told the inquest.

Asked if he had considered that Mr Bashir had been suffering from ABD - a condition that can be caused by mental illness as well as drugs use and meningitis - PC Williams said at the time he hadn’t.

“At the time, no. It was very difficult with everything that was going on. I thought [his behaviour] was due to the consumption of drugs.”

Asked if he had considered whether restraining Mr Bashir cold have made his condition worse, the officer explained that the decision to restrain him had been taken because of his kicking out, the debris in the room and concern he might use it as a weapon, and the fear the casualty might have hurt himself or others.

“It was better to get him under restraint and monitor his condition”, PC Williams told the court.

The inquest has previously heard that emergency services were called to Mr Bashir’s parents’ home on February 17th 2021, after they became concerned about their son’s mental state.

In the previous month it was heard Mouayed had been involved in “a stabbing incident”, after which his behaviour had been “erratic.” 

After his death a post mortem revealed cocaine in his body, as well as diazepam and a substance found in cannabis. 

Mr Bashir suffered a cardiac arrest shortly after being put into the ambulance. Despite the efforts of paramedics he was pronounced dead at the Grange Hospital later that morning.

The following day saw a protest march in the streets of Newport ending with a vigil outside the city’s central police station.

In a statement read out to the court, Mouayed’s brother, Mohannad, described the 29 year old as “caring and generous”, and “respectful of his family.”

The inquest, which began a week ago, is expected to last until early next month.