Dad-of-three's family lose appeal over Pontins death

Pontins, Pakefield.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Colchester dad Paul Reynolds (pictured) died at Pontins in Pakefield in 2017 - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY/NICK BUTCHER

Police and security staff will not face manslaughter charges over the death of a 38-year-old father after his family lost an appeal four years on from an incident at a holiday park.

Paul Gladwell, also known as Paul Reynolds, was initially detained by staff while on holiday at Pontins in Pakefield, near Lowestoft, on Valentine's Day 2017.

The dad-of-three, from Colchester, was subsequently arrested by Suffolk police on suspicion of assault but became unwell in the police van on the way to custody and died in hospital two days later.

Pontins, Pakefield.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Paul Reynolds, also known as Paul Gladwell, was on holiday at Pontins in Pakefield when the incident occurred - Credit: Nick Butcher

Area coroner Jacqueline Devonish told a pre-inquest review hearing in Ipswich on Wednesday that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had informed her of an eleventh-hour decision on Tuesday evening not to press charges against five security staff and three police officers involved.

It followed an appeal by Mr Gladwell's family against the CPS' original decision to not press charges.

In August 2019, the CPS said there was "insufficient evidence" to charge any of the eight people involved. 

A CPS spokesman said Mr Gladwell's family's request for an appeal was dealt with under its Victims' Right to Review scheme by a senior prosecutor with no previous involvement in the case.

“The review concluded that the original decision was correct and no charges of homicide, misconduct in public office or assault should be brought against any of the suspects," they said.

“We understand that is not the outcome the family would have hoped for and we will be writing to them shortly explaining our decision in detail.

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“The CPS’s role is to make independent and fair decisions based on the evidence and our thoughts remain with (Paul Gladwell's) family.”

Criminal charges had been considered after an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in 2018 which saw gross misconduct notices served on the three Suffolk police officers.

Mr Gladwell was taken via ambulance to James Paget Hospital in a critical condition after becoming unwell on the way to Great Yarmouth custody on February 14, 2017.

Paul Gladwell, also known as Paul Reynolds, from Colchester

The father-of-three died in February 2017 after being detained by Pontins staff and arrested by police - Credit: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

Following a CT scan, he was transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, but was pronounced dead two days later. 

Mrs Devonish told Suffolk Coroner's Court that Mr Gladwell's full inquest will last a month and be heard from April 19 in front of a jury.

It will feature evidence from various agencies involved and also from Mr Gladwell's family, some of whom attended the pre-inquest hearing, including the 38-year-old's mother Carol Hurst and his partner Carrie Bennett.

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