Met officers under investigation following Croydon death in custody

Published: 08 Sep 2023

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is criminally investigating the actions of two Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers as our investigation progresses into the death of a man in police custody in Croydon.

Mikias Tekeste, aged 30, died on 15 July 2023 after he became unwell in his custody cell and was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced deceased shortly afterwards.

IOPC investigators have viewed CCTV from inside the police van that transported Mr Tekeste to custody following his arrest and have determined that two officers who were in the vehicle may have failed to appropriately supervise Mr Tekeste during this time.

As a result, we have advised two police constables that they are being criminally investigated for the potential offence of gross negligence manslaughter.

The officers are also being investigated for potential breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour at the level of gross misconduct.

This does not mean that criminal charges or disciplinary proceedings will necessarily follow.

Mr Tekeste was arrested by MPS officers in Croydon town centre on the afternoon of 15 July and taken to the Croydon Custody Centre.

Later that evening, custody staff noticed he appeared unwell. First aid was given in custody by a medical professional and an ambulance was requested.

Paramedics arrived minutes later and Mr Tekeste was taken to hospital where he sadly died the same night.

A post-mortem was completed and we await further results, including a toxicology report. A date for the opening of the inquest is yet to be set.

IOPC regional director Mel Palmer said: “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Mikias Tekeste. Our investigators have met with his family to inform them of this update.

“We are continuing to piece together the circumstances leading up to Mr Tekeste’s death and we are reviewing the actions of MPS staff beginning from his arrest in Croydon, to his transport to and subsequent detention in the custody suite. We have found no evidence of any inappropriate use of force during this period.

“At the end of our investigation we will decide whether to refer a file of evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision and also determine whether any MPS staff should face disciplinary proceedings.”

As part of our enquiries, investigators have been reviewing CCTV footage from the custody suite and the police van that Mr Tekeste was transported in.

Accounts have been obtained from the MPS staff involved and we are reviewing custody records from the day of the incident, along with relevant police policies and procedures.

To understand more about the offence of gross negligence manslaughter, visit the CPS website.

  • Metropolitan Police Service
  • Death and serious injury