Musician found dying in his cell after ‘hiding drugs in his sock’, inquest hears


musician was found dying in his cell after being arrested trying to swallow a Kinder egg full of Class A drugs, an inquest heard.

After his death Daniel Cooper, 40, was found with wraps of suspected drugs stashed in his sock despite being searched multiple times, his inquest at West London Coroner’s Court heard on Wednesday.

Mr Cooper, who was wanted for failing to appear in court, was noticed by two police officers in Shepherds Bush, on July 12.

A struggle allegedly occurred and Mr Cooper was seen by officers to place an item in his mouth.

He was encouraged by officers to spit it out and testing later established it to be a Kinder egg containing heroin and small, white crystals.

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It was unknown if he had swallowed any of the drugs so he was taken to hospital where he was given the all-clear and returned to police custody.

IOPC lead investigator Molly Johnson told the inquest, attended by his mother, that there were no obvious injuries to Mr Cooper and he seemed “cooperative and alert” in custody at Hammersmith and Fulham police station.

He was charged that evening with possession of a Class A drug and refused bail due to his previous failure to appear in court.

During his time in custody, he was checked three times by medical professionals with no concerns raised.

But two days later CCTV in his cell appears to show Mr Cooper having a medical emergency and custody officers rushed to check on him at 6.47am.

He was given CPR and defibrillation by detention staff until paramedics arrived at 6.58am.

On arrival to Charing Cross hospital he was in cardiac arrest and showed no signs of life, according to the IOPC investigator.

He was pronounced dead at 8.32am.

Wraps of suspected drugs were later found hidden in his sock, the police watchdog investigator said.

Assistant Coroner Hannah Hinton suspended the inquest awaiting toxicology results to be returned.

She told Mr Cooper’s family: “I’m sure you have many, many unanswered questions that are unanswered. Let me reassure you the investigation into Daniel’s death will be a thorough one.

“This is a complex case and therefore all the information needs to be gathered before reaching conclusions we are bound to reach.”

IOPC director Amanda Rowe said: “Our thoughts are with Daniel Cooper’s family and friends and all those affected by this incident.

“We have met with his family to explain our role and will keep them updated throughout the investigation.

“Whenever a person dies while in police custody, it’s important that an independent investigation is carried out to establish all of the circumstances surrounding this incident, including the actions and decision-making of the relevant police officers and police staff.

“All police officers/staff are currently being treated as witnesses.”

Investigators have taken CCTV from the custody centre and from the street where Mr Cooper was arrested, alongside officers’ body-worn video.

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