A police officer admitted that the actions of he and his colleagues may have contributed to, if not caused, the death of a man in custody.

PC Christopher Pomery told an inquest that his behaviour, along with his four colleagues, may have led to the death of Habib “Paps” Ullah  in a High Wycombe car park nearly seven years ago.

The 39-year-old died when a package became lodged in his throat during the stop and search on July 3, 2008.

During cross-examination at Buckinghamshire Coroner’s Court, in Beaconsfield, today, PC Pomery said that Mr Ullah was a risk to himself, but he presented no threat to police officers.

He said: “He was always a risk to himself because he had a package in his mouth but he was not a risk to me... He was not being violent to me.”

Officers suspected Mr Ullah was intoxicated with drugs, which would present a “major risk factor” in regards to positional asphyxiation.

However, PC Pomery confessed he did not contemplate whether Mr Ullah might be suffering from positional asphyxiation and thought he was “feigning it” – a view shared by all the officers who have given evidence so far.

The Ullah family lawyer, Anthony Metzer QC, asked PC Pomery: “Do you agree that the actions of you and your colleagues may have caused or contributed to Mr Ullah’s death?”

PC Pomery replied: “They may have done, yes.”

The first inquest into Mr Ullah’s death had to be abandoned after it was revealed that officers had altered their statements following legal advice.

PC Pomery said he put his original statement, which was written the day after Mr Ullah’s death, in the “confidential waste bin”.

He said: “I made those notes less than 24 hours from a very traumatic incident. I took advice from a legal representative. I shouldn’t have thrown it away. That was an error on my part.”

PC Howard Wynne, who is out of the country, gave evidence via a temperamental video link today.

PC Wynne contradicted his colleagues’ statements that Mr Ullah was “deliberately keeping his mouth shut” during the restraint.

In PC Wynne’s earlier evidence, read out to the court today, he said Mr Ullah’s mouth was actually “about 1cm open” and he was expelling air from his lips – conflicting evidence the inquest has heard so far that Mr Ullah’s mouth was “clamped shut”.

The inquest continues.