DUBAI – After a second post-mortem examination, Dubai’s public prosecution office has ruled that the bruises on the body of the British tourist who died in police custody a week ago were caused in the struggle to detain an erratic and aggressive man, rather than sustained during beatings.
The prosecution ruled that Lee Bradley Brown, 39, suffered the injuries while resisting arrest on April 6 at the Burj al Arab hotel.
Brown was accused of assaulting a hotel cleaner, pulling her hair and trying to throw her from a sixth-floor balcony over the lobby. He was detained at the Bur Dubai police station and died on April 12 – a result, the prosecution said, of choking on his own vomit. The first post-mortem examination drew the same conclusion.
The attorney general, Isam Issa al Humaidan, issued a statement yesterday in which he said the investigation into Brown’s death was “ongoing”.
Various witnesses, including the cleaner whom Mr Brown allegedly attacked, testified in court yesterday, according to the information office of the Government of Dubai and the Attorney General’s Office.
The cleaner, who has not been named, said she was on her way to clean a top-floor suite when she encountered Brown.
He started shouting at her, she said, then grabbed her by the neck and dragged her by the hair. When he then tried to throw her over the balcony, colleagues heard her screams and came to the rescue.
She suffered bruises on her back, neck, arms and chin.
The attorney general also heard statements from security personnel and police who were called in to restrain Brown.
The attorney general’s statement yesterday said Brown was in a highly agitated state and when asked to calm down, he tried to jump over the balcony.
After a second attempt to jump, he was arrested and taken to Bur Dubai police station, where he continued to “resist arrest strongly”, the statement said.
Testimony was also heard from police officers who were at the station at the time of Brown’s arrest. They said he insulted them, caused a “lot of chaos in the building, destroyed public property” and repeatedly hit his head against the bars of his cell.
As a result, his nose and forehead were bruised.
“When they tried to control him, he fell on the floor and hit his forehead and continued resisting arrest,” the statement said.
The report presented to the attorney general from the post-mortem examination noted “irregular bruises” on the left side of his forehead, his right thigh and the bridge of his nose, and superficial cuts on the bottom of his chin and foot.
There were also scattered marks on his right eyebrow and lower jaw, and on the back of his hands and fingers.
Reports in the British press have claimed Brown died as a result of being beaten by police while in custody. However, the public prosecution office’s report concluded that his injuries were the result of his struggle against arrest.
It also noted that none of his external injuries were life threatening.
“There are no external injuries or marks of apparent illness that caused the death,” said the statement.
The statement quoted the attorney general as saying that “no one is above the law”, and stressing that the public prosecution office takes abuse in custody very seriously.
Brown’s relatives arrived in Dubai yesterday. The attorney general’s statement confirmed that they had been allowed to see the body and collect his belongings.