Terrorism suspect's girlfriend recounts 2am arrest by armed police with tragic ending due to 'final straw'

The former girlfriend of a Leeds terrorism suspect has spoken about the night armed police stormed their house and took him away - the last time she ever saw him.

Benjamin David Hyland, 29, and his partner, known as 'Lou', heard banging around 2am as officers smashed their way into their house in Leeds, a coroner's court heard. She said Mr Hyland had been 'paranoid' and had spoken about a white van driving up and down outside their home. At 2am he had seen the van again and around 30 minutes later police smashed their way in, she said.

Read more: Live Leeds 'stand-off' ends with man dead after armed police entered house

Lou says the last time she saw Mr Hyland he was walking down the staircase with his hands above his head during the night he was arrested, December 2, 2022.

Mr Hyland was moved to Leeds prison on December 9 and was found hanged in his cell on December 11. He had been facing 11 Terrorism Act offences at the time of his death.

Today a statement by Lou was heard by a jury inquest at Wakefield Coroners' Court. The jury is considering the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Hyland.

Lou spoke about her former partner's background and how he was taken into care at the age of three after he had been knocked down by a car and badly hurt after finding his way out of the family home when he mum was 'drunk'.

She said he had been "moved from foster home to foster home" and had never been adopted. In his 20s he had moved to Leeds and been homeless before begin given help and finding a flat in Beeston.

He and Lou had gone on to have a child. Lou said Mr Hyland had worked at a farm but had walked out and hadn't worked after that. She said Mr Hyland was "self-diagnosed with anxiety and depression" but had never attempted to take his own life in the past.

She last saw Mr Hyland when he was being arrested. She was visited by police on December 11 who told her that he had died.

Following his death, she had raised concerns about how Mr Hyland, who was in custody for the first time, may have struggled to cope after being moved from police custody to HMP Leeds as he "would not be able to cope in that environment". A relative had told her that while in prison Mr Hyland had been 'very agitated'.

She said that while in police custody, Mr Hyland had been "checked every half hour".

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Lou said that Mr Hyland had been told by social services that he could not speak to their children. "I think this was the final straw for Ben," she added.

The inquest was told that, while in police custody, Mr Hyland had banged his head on a door which he had done out of 'frustration'.

When asked why he had smashed his head on the door, My Hyland had told a prison officer: "Them b*****s were winding me up - they did my head in."

A prison officer at Leeds told the inquest that when Mr Hyland came into the jail he came across as 'very outgoing', 'very jovial' and confident in his manner.

The hearing was told that prison staff did not instigate anti-suicide/self harm procedures, known as ACCT, as they did not believe it was necessary.

A nurse who assessed Mr Hyland at HMP Leeds said he did not 'present or indicate' any plan to end his life.

The hearing continues