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24 April: The underlying facts

  1. Footage covertly recorded by DCO Callum Tulley on 4 May 2017 shows a group of officers in an outside smoking area talking about a restraint of D1527 that had taken place earlier that day (discussed below).1 Mr Sanders, who was one of the group but who had not been involved in the restraint, joined in the discussion and described an incident on 24 April 2017 when D1527 was on constant supervision having attempted to self-harm by digging his fingers into his neck.2
  2. Mr Sanders demonstrated D1527’s actions by gripping his right hand around his throat and pressing his index fingers into either side of his neck. In order to prevent D1527 from doing this, Mr Sanders said that he had bent D1527’s fingers back.
  3. Later in the footage from 4 May 2017, Mr Tulley, Mr Sanders, DCO Aaron Stokes and other officers were in Reception. Mr Tulley explained that he had been on constant supervision of D1527 about a week earlier because D1527 had tried to swallow batteries.3 Mr Sanders then repeated the same account about D1527, explaining that he had bent D1527’s fingers back while he had been constantly supervising him on 24 April. Again, he gave a demonstration of his actions and was smiling as he did so.
  4. There was a brief pause, and then Mr Tulley asked the other officers how best to deal with a detained person like D1527. Mr Stokes replied, “turn away and hopefully he’s swinging”. Mr Sanders sniggered, and suggested that he had also deliberately forced D1527’s head down against a table as D1527 was attempting to self-harm. Mr Sanders, Mr Stokes and another officer appeared to joke about D1527’s head repeatedly moving up and down against the table, and Mr Stokes made a bobbing motion with his head. Mr Stokes then said, “did you not have the urge to just punch him in the face as he’s gone up” and demonstrated how Mr Sanders may have done this. Mr Stokes and Mr Sanders laughed.

Figure 9: Mr Stokes demonstrating how Mr Sanders might have punched D1527 in the face

  1. The Inquiry also saw footage covertly recorded by Mr Tulley on 8 May 2017, 14 days after the incident.4 During the footage, which shows Mr Tulley and Mr Sanders in a staff office, Mr Tulley asked Mr Sanders, “you been head-slamming detainees down here and all?”. Mr Sanders laughed and then said, “yeah mate”. He then confirmed that the detained person involved was D1527. The conversation was interrupted for five minutes as detained people came into the office with queries, but, when the detained people had left, Mr Tulley asked whether the incident had taken place after D1527 was on the netting. Mr Sanders said that it:

“was before … He was on E-wing, on constant, and I was in the room with him. And normally you’re set up, sat across, sitting outside watching him … But I still couldn’t see what he was doing. So, I sat in there, on the table right next to him. Literally I was talking to him and obviously, looked around to make sure no one was looking, banging his head and as he was banging it I went …”

He then gestured slamming his hand down hard onto the desk in front of him, making a loud bang. Mr Sanders laughed.

  1. Mr Sanders explained that he had held D1527’s head in place, and D1527 had then tried to push his fingers into his own neck. Mr Sanders continued, “So I got his finger and thumb and went ‘told you I stop you doing it’” and demonstrated how he had bent D1527’s fingers back. Mr Sanders appeared unashamed and amused by this anecdote, and later added that he thought D1527 respected him as a result of what he had done. Finally, Mr Sanders said, “If you’re hurting yourself, you’re attention seeking aren’t you, little prick” and “haven’t got no sympathy for any of them”.
  2. D1527’s Assessment Care in Detention and Teamwork (ACDT) record for 24 April 2017 shows that Mr Sanders was in fact undertaking constant supervision of D1527 between 15:40 and 17:47 that day, and then again between 18:30 and 20:55.5 In his statement to Sussex Police, Mr Tulley said that on 24 April 2017 he saw D1527 “lying face down on his bed, motionless” in his cell on E Wing, and that Mr Sanders, who was sitting on the desk between the two beds in the cell, told him that D1527 “keeps digging his fingers into his neck” and that he would “get through to him eventually”. Mr Tulley said that he took no notice of the remark and left the cell.6
  3. D1527’s account to the Inquiry was that he could not remember the events that Mr Sanders related to the other officers. However, he said in his statement:

“I do not recall this incident, which does not mean it did not happen. I should explain that I have flashes of memories of force being used against me … a lot of the incidents are a blur for me, however I find it very difficult to recall the difference between the events or the order in which they happened.”7

  1. In his oral evidence, Mr Sanders told the Inquiry that his claim to have pulled D1527’s fingers back and banged his head was “just lies that I made up to try and fit in with some people who weren’t even, like, great people”.8 He also said that:

“in the moments I said I was banging his head down, in reality, I was actually placing a pillow under his head to stop him hurting it … and, rather than using restraints to remove his hands, I actually, just like he was a child, just tried to pull his hands away”.9

  1. Mr Owen Syred, a DCO and Welfare Officer during the relevant period, told the Inquiry in his closing submission that he believed Mr Sanders to be a caring person.10 He also stated that “the strain of working at Brook House led some officers to hide their lack of confidence with bravado or to act out of character in order to fit in” and that Mr Sanders was an example of such an officer.11 Another officer, DCO Ryan Harkness, told the Inquiry that he thought Mr Sanders “said what he felt he needed to say to fit in … He was not in my experience a violent guy or a guy built for violence.12
  2. Mr Stokes told the Inquiry that he thought Mr Sanders was just “letting off steam” when he talked about what he had done to D1527 and that he had not genuinely assaulted a detained person.13 In relation to his own comment that the right response to a suicidal detained person was to “turn away and hopefully he’s swinging”, Mr Stokes told the Inquiry:

“I can see it now that it was in very poor taste … but it’s my belief that I was just young, naive and just trying to deal with stress the way I could.”14

  1. Following the broadcast of the Panorama programme, the Home Office Professional Standards Unit (PSU) carried out an investigation into Mr Sanders’ claim that he had assaulted D1527 while he was responsible for constantly supervising him.15 The PSU concluded that Mr Sanders did assault D1527 and that his statements to colleagues about hurting D1527 and about him being “an attention seeking … little prick” were “derogatory and were likely to have degraded [D1527]”.16


  1. KENCOV1012 – V2017050400026[]
  2. The term ‘constant supervision’ is used to refer to the frequency of observations required on a detained person who is considered to be at high risk of self-harm or suicide[]
  3. KENCOV1012 V2017050400028[]
  4. KENCOV1014 – V2017050800017[]
  5. CJS001085_003-005[]
  6. SXP000120_007[]
  7. DL0000144_010 para 32[]
  8. Kalvin Sanders 4 March 2022 124/13-125/15[]
  9. Kalvin Sanders 4 March 2022 129/18-23[]
  10. Closing Statement by Mr Stanton on behalf of Owen Syred 5 April 2022 172/2-6[]
  11. Closing Statement by Mr Stanton on behalf of Owen Syred 5 April 2022 169/22-170/1[]
  12. SER000440_028 para 96d[]
  13. Aaron Stokes 9 March 2022 191/19-192/4[]
  14. Aaron Stokes 9 March 2022 193/7-15[]
  15. CJS001107_008 para 6.2; CJS001107_011-012 paras 6.28-6.36; CJS001107_018-20 paras 7.2-7.21[]
  16. CJS001107_020 para 7.21[]