Jury returns suicide verdict at Smiley Culture inquest

16:15 02 July 2013

Smiley Culture was born and raised in Stockwell. Picture: PA

Smiley Culture was born and raised in Stockwell. Picture: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The actions of the Metropolitan Police were a “contributory factor” in the death of Smiley Culture, it was said today, as an inquest jury found the reggae star died from a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest during a police raid at his home.

Surrey Coroner Richard Travers said he was he would make a report to the Metropolitan Police on changes or improvements to the supervision of a prisoner at their home during a search.

The 48-year-old singer, real name David Emmanuel, died from a single stab wound to the heart while police executed a search warrant at his Surrey home on March 15, 2011.

The jury of five men and six women took 12 hours and 52 minutes to reach their majority verdict.

The jury foreman said: “David Victor Emmanuel took his own life. Although the tragic events of 15 March 2011 were unforeseeable, giving one officer the responsibility of supervising Mr Emmanuel and at the same time the premises search book was a contributory factor in his death.”

The inquest heard that he stabbed himself after being arrested at the property in Warlingham.

The police inquiries concerned allegations of conspiring to import class A drugs into the UK, the court heard.

Smiley Culture found fame with a string of 1980s hits including CockneyTranslation, and appeared on Top of the Pops.

The inquest, which began on June 12, took place at Woking Borough Council’s Civic Offices.

In a statement extending its “deepest sympathies” to the friends and family of Mr Emmanuel, the Metropolitan Police said it would take on board any recommendations made by the coroner.

“We recognise that the jury have made comment on the fact that a single officer was supervising Mr. Emmanuel whilst also completing the search record, and we will fully consider any recommendations made by the coroner in this regard,” the force said.

“It is always a matter of deep concern and regret when someone dies in our care and it is only right that the circumstances be thoroughly and independently scrutinised in the most robust and transparent way.”

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