Friday, September 19, 2014

Police officer restraining ex-Rugby League player who died in Ibiza 'held baton to his throat and only removed it when doctor told him to for the third time'

A medic has accused police of asphyxiating a former Rugby League player who died of suspected cardiac arrest while on holiday in Ibiza.

Doctor Santiago Akoskin said he had to ask a Civil Guard officer three times to remove his baton from Luke Rhoden's neck before he withdrew it.

Mr Rhoden, 25, from Wigan, died on September 2 outside the Ibiza Rocks Hotel in the party resort of San Antonio following a struggle with police.

Officers were called to the hotel after he plunged from a first-floor balcony following a suspected drink and drugs binge.

They have claimed they had to restrain him for his own safety after he started ranting at other guests and refused medical treatment.

But Mr Rhoden's father Norman, who travelled to Ibiza in the wake of his son's death, says he is considering legal action over his concern excessive police force played a part in his son's death.

Mr Akoskin, the first doctor on the scene, said: 'I told the police officer who was asphyxiating him three times to withdraw his baton from the tourist's neck and he only removed it at my third time of asking.

'When I told him "You're asphyxiating him" the first time he replied by saying: "I know what I'm doing."'

The doctor, who works for a number of hotels in Ibiza, said police also put clamps around Mr Rhoden's legs after he started kicking out.

He told Ibizan newspaper Ultima Hora: 'His heart rate was 160 beats a minute which is a very high frequency for a normal person.

'I was sure this lad was under the effects of drugs. I looked at his pupils and they were very dilated, he was very agitated.

'There are obviously techniques to restrain people but the Civil Guards cuffed him with his hands in front of him when they could have handcuffed him from behind and put him face down.'

His father has already called on his local MP for help and is considering legal action.

Norman Rhoden, 44, from Ince, Cheshire, is understood to have spoken to the doctor during his trip to Ibiza. He said earlier this week: 'All I want is the truth. If someone has done something wrong I want them brought to justice.'

The probe into Mr Rhoden's death is currently being overseen by an investigating magistrate in Ibiza.

He is still waiting for the results of drug tests on tissue samples taken after he died.

An autopsy revealed Mr Rhoden, who played prop forward as a junior for rugby league side Wigan Warriors and for England's under 17 side, had died of a heart attack. It is not yet clear what caused it.

Spain's Civil Guard has denied claims of brutality insisting it 'doesn't beat people up.'

Sources close to the judicial probe said the investigating magistrate was probing whether Mr Akoskin had committed negligence by giving Mr Rhoden two valium injections as police restrained him.

The doctor insisted the injections would not have caused cardiac arrest, saying: 'I haven't committed any negligence at all. 'I've told the truth and others are trying to cover their backs.'

Mr Rhoden's father, still thought to be in Ibiza, says he is hoping to fly back with his son's body by the end of the week.

Original report here


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