A DAD died after being restrained by police because he had taken cocaine which triggered an episode of 'excited delerium', a jury concluded.

Ricky Penfold, 45, of Frinton Drive in Woodford Green, suffered a heart attack after being restrained by police in Hale End Road, Highams Park.

During a four-day inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court, two pathologists agreed that the father-of-three died from irreversible brain damage triggered by a heart attack – caused by a potentially fatal dose of cocaine in his bloodstream.

The jury foreman said: "He died after non-dependent abuse of cocaine, which triggered an episode of excited delirium, which had not been fully appreciated.

"This was aggravated by the restraint by police. The underlying history of heart problems also contributed to his death."

Mr Penfold was restrained in the early hours of October 20, 2008, after eight witnesses reported seeing him head-butting cars, smashing windows and generally behaving in an erratic manner in Malvern Avenue, Highams Park.

Some reported seeing him carrying a weapon and blood dripping from his head.

The pathologists agreed he was displaying signs of excited delierium, which can be fatal if not treated urgently.

The jury, which recorded a narrative verdict, said 'more work' needed to be done by police to identify suspects who may be suffering from excitable delirium, or acute behavioural disorder, and required urgent medical assistance.

They also commented that the position Mr Penfold was put in while being restrained by police could have contributed to his death, but said the position could not be proven because witness statements were conflicting and there was no pathological evidence to prove whether he was on his front – or on his side as claimed by police.

Solicitor Sarah McSherry, on behalf of the family, said: "The Penfold family has lost a beloved and devoted son, brother and father.

"Ricky was seriously unwell on October 20, 2008, and should have been helped by the police. Instead, serious concerns about their conduct have been identified by the jury.

"The Penfold family hope that lessons are learnt by the Metropolitan Police Service as a result of Ricky’s death so that no other family ever has to suffer the loss of a loved one in similar circumstances."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which carried out an investigation into the death, concluded that police officers used a 'reasonable and justifiable' degree of force to restrain Mr Penfold, and said the restraint appeared to have been 'necessary and lawful'.

An online version of this story contained an error in the quote from the jury foreman. This mistake has now been corrected and we apologise for any distress caused.