Inquiry shown real-time footage and audio of moment Sheku Bayoh was restrained

·4-min read

The inquiry into the death of Sheku Bayoh has been shown footage and heard 999 calls from the day he died.

Visual and audio recordings, taken from CCTV, witnesses’ phones and emergency calls, were all shown in real-time at the public hearing in Edinburgh, revealing events leading up to and when Mr Bayoh was restrained by officers in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on May 3 2015.

The 31-year-old died a short time after being held by officers.

His family believe race played a part in his death.

The inquiry was first shown car dashcam footage taken at about 7.09am on May 3 2015, which is believed to be the first video material capturing Mr Bayoh walking in the Hayfield area of the town on the day he died.

An audio recording of an emergency call from the driver was played alongside the footage where the man could be heard reporting seeing “a 6ft black guy…around Hayfield Road…”

Because the audio and visual evidence gathered were shown in real-time, it meant the inquiry heard various 999 calls that were made from other witnesses at the same time speaking over one another.

Phone footage taken from witnesses and CCTV footage from Gallagher’s on the day Mr Bayoh died (Sheku Bayoh Inquiry screenshot/PA)
Phone footage taken from witnesses and CCTV footage from Gallagher’s on the day Mr Bayoh died (Sheku Bayoh Inquiry screenshot/PA)

One caller could be made out saying: “There’s a black man walking along…he has a knife in his hand…he’s walking towards the hospital.”

About four minutes later, a witness’s iPhone footage, filmed from next to the bus stop on Hayfield Road, showed a van driving away from a man dressed in a white T-shirt and dark trousers, said to be Mr Bayoh, walking in the middle of the road.

Several more 999 calls from witnesses are then heard about a sighting of a man with a knife until about 7.20am when a police control room call recording confirms officers are nearing the location of Mr Bayoh in Hayfield Road.

A few seconds later, the inquiry then saw police vehicles arriving at the scene via CCTV footage from nearby Gallagher’s pub in Hendry Road.

This footage was played alongside a call between the control room and former officer Alan Paton, who attended the scene, where he asks for a description of the man on approach.

An officer replies: “He’s been described as male, black, well-built, 6ft tall wearing a white T-shirt, dark-coloured jeans and carrying a very large knife.”

A few seconds later, Mr Paton can be heard shouting over the radio “officer injured, Pc Short”.

More shouting can be heard, then at about 7.21am, an officer from the scene reports to the control room: “One officer has been punched in the back of the head, no obvious serious injuries.

“Male securely on the ground.”

The inquiry is then played an audio from about 7.22am where an officer from the control room is asking for an update.

Less than a minute later, Snapchat footage taken from a witness’s phone, lasting only a few seconds, shows officers restraining Mr Bayoh on the ground.

The phone footage also captures a person in a grey T-shirt standing in a front garden near the entrance to one of the residential properties on Hayfield Road, just metres from where Mr Bayoh is being restrained.

Seconds after 7.23am, control room can be heard asking for another update, to which an officer at the scene replies: “The male is on the ground at the moment, we’ve got several officers who’ve taken a big restrain.

“We’ll get back to you.

“However, we’re going to need more control…generally fine.”

Another officer at the scene can then be heard reporting: “Pc Short has been struck to the head…no bleeding, no visible injury.”

An officer replies: “Yes, just continue to stay safe and keep full control, use all retrains necessary, control can you get an ambulance for Pc Short.”

An officer from the scene can then be heard reporting Pc Short was “stomped on the body a few times and struck to the head”.

More than 30 seconds later, just after 7.25am, Pc Smith, in attendance, reports: “The male appears to be unconscious, breathing, not responsive, get an ambulance for him.”

With the help of CCTV footage from Gallagher’s pub, a reconstructed 3D image of the scene and a radio call recording, the inquiry saw an ambulance then arrived at the scene at about 7.34am.

Earlier, the inquiry was given a demonstration on how Advanced Laser Imaging (ALI), a company used to create accurate 3D impressions of scenes, was used to remodel the scene where Mr Bayoh died to help the investigation.

ALI was used to recreate the scene where Diana, Princess of Wales died during an inquest that was held about a decade after her death.

Mark DeGiovanni, of ALI, said there are “many parallels” between ALI’s work on Diana’s inquest and the inquiry into Mr Bayoh’s death.

The inquiry, before Lord Bracadale, continues.

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