Armed robber died after being restrained for over 17 minutes, inquest hears
Shane Bryant died after being restrained following struggles with an off-duty police officer and a retired police officer, an inquest has heard.
A robber armed with a baseball bat died after being restrained for over 17 minutes following struggles with an off-duty police officer and a retired police officer, an inquest has heard.
Shane Bryant, from Birmingham, was taken ill at the scene of a supermarket raid in Ashby-de-la-Zouch on July 13 2017 and was pronounced dead two days later.
North Leicestershire Coroner’s Court heard the “extremely muscular” 29-year-old dragged a female member of staff away from the counter at the Co-op store before forcing them to open a safe just before 10pm.
A jury panel was then told an off-duty officer and around eight other people, including a retired officer who was drinking in The Tap public house next-door, attended the shop after noticing something was “amiss”.
After failing to detain his accomplice, who had escaped through a gap in the store’s security gate, the off-duty officer and another member of the public entered the store to pursue Bryant.
The inquest heard that as the pair made attempts to detain him, Bryant responded by resisting “violently” and, after the member of the public was knocked to the floor, the robber “proceeded to stamp on his head”.
As he tried to escape, jurors heard Bryant ended up “banging his head on the concrete floor” and fell backwards into the group standing outside the door of the shop.
Assistant Coroner Michael Auty QC told the inquest that Bryant was then taken to the ground before his “getaway driver” mounted the pavement, forcing the retired officer to drag the robber out of the car’s path.
Mr Auty said the retired officer then pushed Bryant’s head on the floor before punching him and putting him in a headlock.
“Mr Bryant was restrained for something in order of 17 minutes and 12 seconds over all,” he said.
Outlining the facts of the case on Monday, Mr Auty said: “Shane Bryant was one of three men who arrived together in an Audi outside the Co-op store in Ashby-de-la-Zouch.
“It is a matter for you as to whether those three men were there to commit an armed robbery at those premises.
“They all wore dark clothing and they all wore balaclavas… no doubt intending to disguise their appearance.
“Whilst a third man waited in the car, Shane Bryant and his accomplice were armed, in Shane Bryant’s case with a baseball bat, and his accomplice with a golf club.
“You may conclude that this was plainly a planned and sophisticated attack at these premises.”
Addressing the jury, Mr Auty added: “What you are looking at here is the reasonableness or otherwise of Shane Bryant’s detention and restraint.”
Before the assistant coroner addressed jurors, Bryant’s brother Dean took to the witness box to give a “pen portrait”.
Speaking on behalf of his daughter, Bryant’s niece, he said: “This may have just been another black man dying in controversial circumstances but to us he was just another son, brother, father and uncle.
“Throughout Shane’s life there were times where he was misunderstood. He was an energetic, upbeat, imaginative and creative individual.
“It is very hard for us to understand why Shane got involved in the crime at the Co-op at the time of his death.
“As a family, there was no doubt in our mind that Shane should have been arrested for his crime, he should have ended up in prison for his crime, but he should not have ended up in a coffin.”
The inquest, expected to last three weeks, continues.