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The underlying facts

  1. D313 is not recorded as having disclosed any mental or physical health conditions on his arrival at Brook House on 31 May 2017. However, he did test positive for opiates. D313 was seen later that day by Dr Husein Oozeerally, the lead GP at Brook House, who prescribed him methadone and required him to be kept under review. On 3 June 2017, D313 was noted to be under the influence of a new psychoactive substance known as ‘spice’.1
  2. On 15 June 2017, D313 was moved to E Wing after taking spice.2 As the effects of the drug were wearing off, there was an interaction between D313 and Detention Custody Officer (DCO) Sean Sayers outside D313’s cell.
  3. In his witness statement to the Inquiry, D313 said that Mr Sayers assaulted him without provocation and that Mr Sayers appeared to be angry and not to like him. D313 said:

“He gave me a full punch to the face (I am aware that the disclosure refers to it as a slap but that is not what happened). It was extremely painful and I was completely knocked over. Officer Sayers then picked me up by my face and threw me back on the bed. There was nothing I could do to stop him hurting me. He was so much bigger and more powerful than me.”3

  1. Mr Sayers told the Inquiry that D313 was verbally aggressive and had “motioned to headbutt” him, an account that he also gave to G4S investigators in 2017.4 According to Mr Sayers, he used force against D313 to put him into his cell in order to protect himself. In his witness statement to the Inquiry, Mr Sayers said that he did not strike D313.5 In his oral evidence, he added:

“I tripped onto the bed. I didn’t throw him onto the bed. And obviously, when I got up, I’ve put my hand down to get up off of a kneeling position and his face was there.”6

  1. D313 did not complain about Mr Sayers’ actions at the time. He explained this to the Inquiry as follows:

“I have a serious learning disability, so, even if there were materials available to me [on] how to complain, I wouldn’t have been able to read them. There was no-one there that I felt I was able to confide in who may have been able to help me with any complaints. In any event, I was too frightened to say anything anyway … I knew exactly what could happen when you got on the wrong side of one of the officers and I was too scared. I retreated into myself after I was assaulted and I did not want to raise too much of a fuss. I would have been too scared to speak out. I also did not think that I would be taken seriously if I complained. The investigation into the assault on me by Officer Sayers on 15 June 2017, which failed to get an account from me, only confirms my feelings about the complaints process.”7

  1. The Inquiry reviewed a transcript of a covertly recorded conversation between DCO Callum Tulley and D313 on E Wing shortly after the incident. During that conversation, D313 said, “I’m telling you what, he’s not getting away with it. I don’t care, he’s not getting away, he’s going to get his fucking head smashed up outside.” Mr Tulley asked D313 who and what he was talking about. D313 then referred to Mr Sayers as a “Fat cunt” and said, “No nothing, nothing. Biggest mistake of his life.8
  2. Five minutes after the incident, Mr Tulley was recorded asking DCO Daniel Lake why D313 was making threats against Mr Sayers. Mr Lake replied that D313:

“called Sean a fat cunt. Sean was like ‘do something about it then’ and then he come over like he was going to hit Sean, Sean grabbed him and threw him in his room, went into his room and then went bang at it.”9

Mr Tulley asked, “Did he give him a proper smack?”, to which Mr Lake replied, “Yeah, backhander right on his face.” When Mr Tulley asked what had caused Mr Sayers’ actions, Mr Lake replied:

“Angry. Called him a fat cunt … he’s just had beef throughout the day. [inaudible] He was like ‘I want to go back to B wing’ and Sean went ‘stop smoking that fucking spice then’ and he just went ‘shut up you fat cunt’. Sean just lost it.”10

  1. Mr Lake went on to say that Mr Sayers:

“Threw him in his room, backhanded him in his room. But it did look like, to be fair on Sean [inaudible], it looked like he was going to hit Sean, like the way he approached Sean with his hands back like that.”11

Mr Tulley asked if that had happened on camera, and Mr Lake told him that Mr Sayers had picked up D313 and carried him into his cell in view of the camera but that the ‘back-handing’ happened in D313’s cell.15 This means that the back-handing would not have been captured on camera.

  1. D313 told the Inquiry that at least one other officer was present at the time of the incident and therefore witnessed Mr Sayers punch him.12 In his disciplinary interview with G4S investigators on 8 September 2017, Mr Sayers said that there were no other officers in the vicinity when he lifted D313 into his cell. The G4S investigators reviewed closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage (which was not available to this Inquiry) and saw Mr Sayers lifting D313 in what they described as a “bear hug type hold” and carrying him into his cell, accompanied by DCO Gary Croucher and Mr Lake. All three DCOs then remained in D313’s cell with him for 13 seconds.13 Mr Sayers told the Inquiry that he accepted that the other two officers were there, but that he still felt he had had to deal with the situation alone.14
  2. The Inquiry viewed covertly recorded footage of a conversation between Mr Sayers, DCO Ryan Bromley and Mr Tulley in a staff office.15 The conversation took place about an hour after the incident on E Wing. Mr Bromley asked, “You got a good team down there?” Mr Sayers replied, “No, that’s why I did it on my own.” Mr Sayers leaned back with his hands behind his head in a relaxed position, which he maintained as he described what had happened. He said:

“I literally picked him up off his feet, took him to his room and threw him on the bed. I slipped, accidentally landed on him and then accidentally helped myself up off his face.”

At this point, Mr Sayers extended his arm to demonstrate a pushing movement.

  1. When interviewed by G4S investigators, Mr Croucher accepted that he was shown on CCTV to have been present when Mr Sayers lifted D313 into his cell, and that he was then in the cell for 13 seconds.
  2. Mr Lake told investigators that he could not remember the incident, and maintained this position in his evidence to the Inquiry.16 A disciplinary investigation by G4S into the conduct of Mr Sayers regarded Mr Lake’s inability to recall the incident as suspicious, and described him as evasive and unhelpful.17 Mr Lake told the Inquiry that he had no reason to protect other staff, either now or at the time of the G4S investigation in September 2017, but did acknowledge that there was a collective feeling of staff being under attack in the aftermath of the Panorama programme.18
  3. Mr Sayers acknowledged at various times that there was a significant difference in physical stature between himself and D313, who he described as “tiny” and “a small guy”.19
  4. D313 told the Inquiry that his cheek was red and bruised following the incident, and that he still had marks when his family came to visit him. D313 explained that he did not tell them what had happened to him because he was worried about the impact it might have on them.20 Mr Sayers said that he did not request a nurse, as he did not think he needed to if no injury had occurred as a result of the use of force.21 That notwithstanding, D313 was monitored by the Healthcare team while he was on E Wing as he recovered from the effects of taking spice. The injuries mentioned by D313 were not recorded in his notes.22
  5. Mr Sayers did not record the use of force against D313. He told the Inquiry that this was because the units were busy and understaffed, and by the time it got to the end of his shift he had forgotten about it.23
  6. The G4S disciplinary investigation found that Mr Sayers used an unauthorised method of restraint against D313, but found there to be insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegation that D313 was assaulted by Mr Sayers.17 I note that the G4S investigators appear to have made no attempt to interview D313 about his account of the events.24


  1. CJS001048_002-004[]
  2. CJS001201_008[]
  3. DL0000233_015 paras 67-68[]
  4. Sean Sayers 10 March 2022 150/24-151/1, 160/25-161/5; CJS005933_002[]
  5. Sean Sayers 10 March 2022 62/16-68/18; BDP00004_016[]
  6. Sean Sayers 10 March 2022 152/20-25[]
  7. DL0000233_018-019 paras 84-86[]
  8. TRN0000093_026 lines 932-957[]
  9. TRN0000093_027 lines 970-975[]
  10. TRN0000093_027 lines 994-998[]
  11. TRN0000093_028 lines 1015-1017[]
  12. DL0000233_015 para 69[]
  13. CJS005937_004-005[]
  14. Sean Sayers 10 March 2022 154/2-154/23[]
  15. Day 25 PM 7 March 2022 00:29:20-00:31:03 (KENCOV1036 – V2 017061500019)[]
  16. CJS005935; CJS005937_007; Daniel Lake 1 March 2022 59/10-14[]
  17. CJS005937_011[][]
  18. Daniel Lake 1 March 2022 65/14-65/21[]
  19. Sean Sayers 10 March 2022 149/01-171/11 20/3-11; CJS005933_0002[]
  20. DL0000233_015 para 71[]
  21. CJS005933_002; BDP00004_017-018 para 65; Sean Sayers 10 March 2022 166/2-8[]
  22. CJS001048_006-007[]
  23. Sean Sayers 10 March 2022 168/24-169/8; BDP00004_017 para 62[]
  24. CJS005937_002-003; DL0000233_018 para 78[]