A POLICE officer has told an inquest why he was seen 'gripping the throat' of a man who suffered a cardiac arrest after a “chaotic” drugs search in High Wycombe.

Habib Ullah, 39, died on July 3, 2008 after being restrained by officers in High Wycombe who were trying to force a package of drugs out of his mouth.

The search outside Lee Court, Sharrow Vale, was initially routine but 'kicked off' when officers suspected Mr Ullah had drugs hidden in his mouth, the inquest heard.

Officers have told jurors how they struggled with Mr Ullah, a father-of-three from Slough, on the floor because they were concerned he would swallow the drugs and overdose.

PC Christopher Pomery, one of the officers involved, said he tried to “inflict pain” to a pressure point under the jaw to force Mr Ullah to comply with orders to spit out the package.

He said: “I tried to push up as hard as I could. Obviously from a member of public's point of view it would look like I was trying to strangle him.

“It's not a recognised technique but I've seen it in a manual since.”

Another officer, Detective Constable Richard Bazeley, has said: “It's not a trained technique, I don't know what he was trying to do.”

The day after the incident a solicitor advised DC Bazeley to remove his description of PC Pomery 'gripping the throat' from his statement, Buckinghamshire's coroner was told this week.

A post-mortem showed Mr Ullah had "bruising of the soft tissue around the neck", the inquest heard. A package of cocaine was also found in his throat.

There is a pain compliance technique involving the area under the jaw and officers are not trained in all techniques, the inquest at the Evreham Centre in Iver was told.

Mr Ullah stopped breathing after the struggle in which various other approved 'pain compliance' techniques were used by officers, jurors were told.

PC Pomery said he didn't see two of his colleagues use the mandibular angle technique, which inflicts pain to a pressure point behind the ear to try to force someone to comply with orders.

He said that continued use of pain compliance techniques without success could amount to torture, but said he was not aware of his colleagues using them before he tried to press underneath the jaw.

Officers have said there were no signs that Mr Ullah was struggling to breathe during the restraint.

The inquest continues.