'Friendly neighbour' named as man who died in police custody

Piotr 'Peter' Rak and his family <i>(Image: JustGiving)</i>
Piotr 'Peter' Rak and his family (Image: JustGiving)

A Swindon man who died while in custody at a Swindon police station has been named by his family.

Wiltshire Police issued a statement at the weekend confirming that a man in custody at Gablecross Police Station had died.

The family if Piotr Rak, 37, known as Peter and nicknamed Raku, believe he called police himself just 24 hours before his death looking for help.

But in the early hours of Sunday morning on May 19, paramedics from Wiltshire Air Ambulance and local ambulance crews were called to the station, where Peter was then pronounced dead at the scene.

It is understood that father-of-one Peter had a heart condition and had also been troubled by a persistent battle against drink and drug addictions.

His family say that they believe that officers responded to his call for help on Saturday and found him drunk in his car, before taking him to Gablecross.

Swindon Advertiser: Piotr 'Peter' Rak
Swindon Advertiser: Piotr 'Peter' Rak

A JustGiving page has now been set up by his family to help cover the cost of getting him back to Poland.

The page was set up by Michal Golec, who said: "On [Sunday] Our friend and companion Piotr passed away. His death came suddenly.

"The family, overwhelmed with grief, was not prepared for this, and material support is also needed. The collected amount will be allocated to cover the costs associated with transporting the deceased to Poland.

"Therefore, we ask for financial support. Every pound will be very helpful!

"We would like to sincerely thank, on behalf of the family, for every contribution. I believe that with your help, we will be able to raise the needed amount: £5000."

You can view the JustGiving page for Peter here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/michal-golec?utm_term=x6NDazn7W

Swindon Advertiser: Piotr 'Peter' Rak
Swindon Advertiser: Piotr 'Peter' Rak

So far the fundraiser has received £2,000 in donations, with many paying tribute to the Swindon man.

One member of the public who donated said: "The friendliest and most kind-hearted neighbour anyone could ask for. Always busy but always had time to have a chat and offer a hand.

"Going to miss you mate."

Another added: "It’s been a pleasure being your neighbour. Thank you for the swings you built my daughter so she and your son could play. You’ll be missed so dearly."

An Independent Office for Police Conduct investigation into Piotr's death has been launched, and Wiltshire Police now say it would be inappropriate to comment further.