British tourist died after being ‘starved and beaten’ in Dubai police station, inquest rules

Lee Brown died while on holiday in Dubai in 2011. (SWNS)
Lee Brown died while on holiday in Dubai in 2011. (SWNS)

A British tourist died from "neglect" in a Dubai police station after being "starved and beaten" by guards, an inquest has ruled.

Lee Brown, 39, was arrested after appearing to suffer a psychotic episode, behaving erratically towards guards and inmates at the Bur Dubai police station on 7 April, 2011.

He was taken to the prosecutor’s office a day later, where his behaviour is said to have been erratic and offensive to other people, the inquest at Walthamstow Coroner's Court was told.

On his return, he was allegedly beaten and kicked in the head by guards before being placed in solitary confinement, where he barely ate or drank and began to lose consciousness.

He died on 12 April, 2011 – five days after arriving at the police station - with jurors recording a narrative conclusion of neglect on Friday.

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Photo taken in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Lee Brown was taken to a police station in Dubai following his arrest in April 2011. (Getty)

Mr Brown, from Dagenham, east London, had been planning to stay in Dubai for a few days before flying to Indonesia to visit his girlfriend.

Jurors were told he arrived in the Gulf state on 6 April 2011 and allegedly assaulted a maid at the Burj Al Arab hotel where he was staying the following day.

He said the woman had come into his room without permission and he was soon surrounded by 20 people who dragged him to the police station.

He may have been having a mental health episode when he arrived at the prison, the hearing was told.

One detainee, who could only be referred to as Detainee One, told jurors in a written statement read by the coroner: “I was told he was beaten up at the prosecutors office and then beaten in the van. I was told by many prisoners guards had boasted about having beaten him."

Another inmate, known as Detainee Two, said in their statement that Mr Brown “was bleeding head to toe” after returning from the prosecutor’s office and had told the detainee that he had been “beaten and kicked in the head”.

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General view of Walthamstow Coroner's Court
The inquest into Lee Brown's death was held at Walthamstow Coroner's Court. (PA)

Recording a narrative conclusion of neglect, the jury forewoman said: “The factors that probably contributed to his death are as follows.

“Bruises from other detainees, guards and police officers, a lack of adequate food or water, a lack of habitable living conditions and a lack of access to necessary medical care while at the police station.

“Factors that possibly contributed to his death are a lack of access to services and adequate clothing.

“The neglect was by the authorities at Bur Dubai police station.”

Jurors recorded his medical cause of death as unanswered.

Nadia Persaud, Area Coroner for East London, will write a prevention of future deaths report to the Foreign Office raising “concerns” about the issues raised during the inquest.

These are a potential lack of emergency access to British nationals when they are detained, warnings about the risk of detention and conditions of detention in Dubai, and a potential lack of clarity about the process around accessing detainees who are experiencing a mental health episode while detained.