The inquest into the unnatural death of 33-year-old Corey Antonio Best continued today with a site visit to a holding cell at Oistins Police Station where the body of the former Hopefield, Charnocks, Christ Church resident was found hanging on April 13, 2017.
When Coroner Manila Renee, her staff, Best’s family and attorney returned to the court at Cane Garden, St Thomas police officers who saw Best before and after his death gave their evidence.
Sergeant Julia Wood and police constable Jason Clarke were the officers who escorted Best into the station after they found him on Maxwell Hill, Christ Church, on a bridge trying to open a cash tin with a “big rock”.
At some point Best, who was placed in the holding cell, shouted for Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Dale Stephen who was in charge of the Southern Division at the time of the incident. The ASP knew Best and his family.
ASP Stephen under questioning by family attorney Tristan Elcock said he went to the cell where Best asked for his mother, Angela Best. He then went to the front office to make a check but she was not there so he gave Best the information and left.
“When Corey shouted my name, I went to the cell . . . he was still wearing his pants . . . . When I left and came back to the cells he was still wearing his pants,” ASP Stephen told the court in answer to a direct question by the attorney concerning the pants with which Best is alleged to have hung himself.
Officer Clarke said he was in the front room when the alarm was raised by a police constable that ‘it appeared that the man in the cell hang himself with his pants’.
Clarke and other colleagues went to the cell. “I observed that suspect Corey Best was hanging from a ventilation bar at the rear of the cells with the jeans pants that I saw him wearing earlier,” Clarke said. With the help of other officers they took Best down but “he did not appear to be breathing”.
Scenes of crime investigator Sergeant Wayne Griffith of the Forensic Scenes of Crime Unit was called in.
He said when he arrived at the cell Best who was clad in black boxers and vest was lying on his back on a wooden bed with his legs hanging over and downwards.
“There was a ligature mark around his neck . . . no marks of violence were seen on his body,” Sergeant Griffith said.
He went on to tell the court that there were 29 vertical iron bars at the top section of the cell which are two inches apart and two horizontal metal strips – one to the top and the other at the bottom.
“On the metal strip across the lower section . . . of the iron bars . . . there was a blue jeans pants suspended from the 14 iron bar from the left. The seat of the jeans pants was around the iron bar and both legs were hanging down on the inside wall,” he disclosed.
Following the testimonies Coroner Renee adjourned the inquest until Thursday February 14. (FW)