Jury finds that Ibiza police used excessive force and asphyxiated young holiday-maker

27.10.16 | |


On 26 October 2016, at Bolton Coroner’s court, a jury found that Luke Rhoden died as a result of excessive force and asphyxiation following restraint by Ibiza police (“guardia civil”) in 2014.


On 2 September 2014, while on a stag-do with friends, best-man Luke Rhoden suffered an adverse reaction to drugs. Witnesses described Luke as being paranoid, scared and cowering; and that he was not directing aggression towards anyone. Luke was seriously injured, having jumped from a balcony thereby shattering his ankle and fracturing a leg.


The guardia civil were called and restrained Luke. Eye witnesses stated that the guardia civil used batons to beat Luke while he was on the ground and that they held batons across Luke’s neck to restrain him. Throughout the ordeal, a doctor who attended to assist Luke shouted at the guardia civil to stop as they were “killing him”. Video footage from eye witnesses’ mobile phones demonstrates the extreme level of violence used against Luke while the crowd screamed at the police to stop. 


The guardia civil refused. After more than five minutes of holding a baton across Luke’s neck, he lost consciousness and died. An ambulance could not resuscitate him.


An investigation in Spain was opened and stayed by the examining magistrate. A Spanish autopsy found that Luke had died as a result of a heart attack brought about by the ingestion of drugs. On 29 October 2014, the examining magistrate discontinued proceedings finding that after “due diligence … there is no room to observe any behaviour which is criminally punishable or socially reproachable in those who initially attended to the deceased”.


The pathologist in England and Wales described the Spanish autopsy as “woefully inadequate” and the worst investigation he had seen in his 20 year career. The Spanish police refused to engage with Greater Manchester Police or the Coroner during the course of the coronial proceedings.


Luke Rhoden’s father, Norman Rhoden, with the assistance of his legal team, hopes to use the jury’s conclusions as well as the evidence given at the inquest to pursue justice in Spain.


Graeme Hall appeared pro bono for Luke’s father, Norman Rhoden. Graeme was instructed by Nick Turner of Russell & Co Solicitors. Norman was also supported by Kevin Laue from REDRESS.


The inquest has been widely reported in the press: BBC News, Manchester Evening News, ITV News.

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