Inquest held into death of St Albans man Luigi Basile
PUBLISHED: 14:10 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:56 10 August 2018
The relatives of St Albans chef Luigi Basile have paid tribute to their "family clown" at the inquest into his death.
The coroners court in Hatfield heard how Mr Basile, 48, of Hopkins Crescent in Sandridge, died in the back of a police van at Stevenage police station on September 14, 2017.
His cousin, Susan Holmes, said: “He was a very happy-go-lucky person, who would do anything for anybody.”
The conclusion reached by county coroner Geoffrey Sullivan was Mr Basile died due to natural causes contributed to by alcohol consumption.
The father-of-three had been arrested in St Albans city centre on September 14 after being found lying on a bench, smelling of alcohol, in an area he was prohibited from visiting if he was intoxicated or had an open alcoholic drink.
The two officers, Shaun Woods and Iftakhar Iqbal, carried him to their police van and set off to their nearest cells at Hatfield police station.
As they were driving down Victoria Street, Mr Basile, who had been sat on a bench in the van, fell off his seat. Considering it likely it could happen again, the officers left him in the recovery position on the floor and set off again, first to Hatfield but because there were no cells available, they went to Stevenage police station.
They arrived there at around 2.30pm and there was no response from Mr Basile, so they tried to get him out of the van.
PC Woods said: “I thought something was not right and potentially he was in serious need of medical attention.”
The custody staff and a medic rushed out to help him and PC Iqbal phoned for an ambulance, which arrived in under five minutes.
After a number of procedures were carried out on him, including CPR, defibrillation, and being given adrenaline, paramedics pronounced Mr Basile dead at 3.23pm.
A post-mortem found he had an anomalous origin of the right coronary artery and his death would have been unpredictable. His death was contributed to by acute alcoholism.
Italian-born Mr Basile had been a successful chef manager at several city restaurants, including Cosa Nostra, who often drank with customers and entertained them with magic.
Susan Holmes described him as the “family clown” after the inquest, but added: “The demons of alcohol got to him and he ended up losing everything.”
A Herts Police spokesperson said: Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Luigi Basile following today’s inquest hearing into his death.
“Officers from the constabulary gave evidence as part of the hearing, which helped the coroner to reach a verdict.
“Due to the on-going investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into the circumstances surrounding Mr Basile’s death we are unable to comment any further at this stage.”