Investigation launched after Sandridge man dies in police custody

Stevenage police station. Photo: DANNY LOO

Stevenage police station. Photo: DANNY LOO - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to a much-loved local figure following his sudden death in police custody.

Luigi Basile became ill after being arrested on Thursday, September 14 on suspicion of breaking a criminal behaviour order, and later died.

Herts Police released a statement following the tragedy, which stated: “Hertfordshire Constabulary has contacted the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following the death of a 48 year old man from Sandridge on Thursday (September 14) after he was taken ill while under arrest.

“Officers arrested the man on Thursday afternoon in St Albans and transported him in a police van to Stevenage custody. Upon arrival it was clear that he had become unwell and the ambulance service was called. Despite the best efforts of officers and paramedics who carried out CPR he was pronounced dead.

“The IPCC was informed of the incident, which is normal procedure when a person dies who has been in recent contact with the police.

“Our thoughts are with the man’s family at this sad time and we will do all we can to assist with the independent IPCC investigation to establish the exact circumstances surrounding his death.

“At this stage it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”

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A public Facebook page, RIP Luigi Basile, has been set up for people to post tributes, as he was well-known in the St Albans community as a chef at La Cosa Nostra restaurant.

One post read: “I am sad to announce that my cousin Luigi Basile passed away yesterday [Thursday, September 14] in police custody.

“I would like everyone to remember Luigi as the kind hearted, fun, generous and a joker that he was.

“I would like to thank everyone on behalf of the family for their kind words and support.”

Several of the tributes mention the small acts of kindness he performed.

One read: “I remember Luigi well, such a funny, kind and welcoming man. He used to bring us our dinner over from the restaurant over the road when we couldn’t get a babysitter and come out! Condolences to you and your family and truly hope he rests in peace.”

Another read: “Truly sad you have gone but finally you are at peace. Will never forget you my crazy Italian friend, sleep tight.”

A third one read: “I think I remember seeing him walking about Cell Barnes always had a smile.”