New police probe into complaints

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POLICE have promised a new probe into the sudden death of a Wigan woman.

Concerns about police officer Paul Allen’s evidence to an inquest at Bolton Coroner’s Court mean that police reinvestigate complaints made by Russell Edwards into the death of his partner, Diane Atkinson.

Ms Atkinson died on Novmeber 14, 2009, 11 days after being detained by police under the Mental Health Act. The inquest ruled out any police involvement and the main cause of death was broncho pneumonia.

The 39-year-old woman also had a pneumothorax which is a build up of air between the chest wall and the lung caused by a hole.

Although a definitive cause was not found for this, expert Professor Graham Whitehouse and Forescic Pathologist Doctor Naomi Carter came to the conclusion that the most likely cause of the pneumothorax was emphysema which had gone undiagnosed.

Prof Whitehouse said: ”There was certainly evidence of widespread emphysema and that can be a potential cause of a pneumothorax and can occur spontaneously.”

The court heard that the pneumothorax was diagnosed on November 3, 2009 at Wigan Infirmary but Ms Atkinson, of Argyle Street, Hindley, continued to deteriorate and died on November 14 in the Intensive Care Unit.

Mr Edwards had woken that day to find her in “smashing up the house”.

Police were called and she was sectioned for her own safety. But during the three-day inquest, questions were asked about the legality of Ms Atkinson’s detention by PC Allen.

DCI John Brennan, from the police’s professional standards body, confirmed they would reinvestigate complaints made by Mr Edwards.

Coroner Jenifer Leeming addressed DCI Brennan and said: “I have serious concerns about the veracity of evidence given to me by PC Allen and I think it fair to say you share those concerns.”

Corner Leeming rules that Ms Atkinson’s death was due to natural causes.