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Testimonies about Sheku Bayoh “contradictory”, the investigation says

A retired police inspector said there were inconsistencies in testimonies taken minutes before Sheku Bayoh’s death.

At a public inquiry into the 35-year-old’s death, Steven Stewart said he was in a control room looking at the latest information on the incident that was coming in from members of the public.

The hearing, taking place at Edinburgh’s Capital House, will examine the circumstances that led to the death of Mr Bayoh after he was arrested by police in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on May 3, 2015.

Mr Bayoh’s family believe his race played a role in how police treated him on the day of his death.

Mr Stewart was questioned on Thursday about his involvement in Police Scotland’s response to the incident.

He told the inquiry that while there were some similarities about Mr Bayoh, such as: B. that he was holding a knife, and details of his physical appearance, but there were “some gaps” in the witness statements.

Lead Counsel for the Inquiry, Angela Grahame KC, asked Mr Stewart to explain why he felt there were inconsistencies, contrary to what other officials had said in previous hearings.

The witness replied: “There were similarities in terms of the man’s description and as you looked at the various incidents, I came to the conclusion that it was the same man who was described … in terms of his appearance, his clothing, his appearance knife, which was consistent throughout.

“But in relation to his actions, which were important to me, some witnesses reported that he walked with a knife in his right hand, did not behave aggressively and did not appear angry.

“But other witnesses described him as on the street, approaching cars and waving his arms around.

“So there was an inconsistency in the behaviors and the actions he was taking at the time.

“That was the real inconsistency.”

The inquest then heard transcripts of calls from witnesses, which were read out, including one that said “man jumps in front of cars and stops them” while others discussed Mr Bayoh’s appearance.

The inquiry had previously heard evidence from retired PC Scott Masterton, who received calls and updates in the control room on the events that eventually led to Mr Bayoh’s death.

Documents showed the first witness call about Mr Bayoh was classified as a number two call, with number one being the highest, immediate priority for police to respond to.

Mr Masterton said the first call was misjudged, adding: “It should have been a first class call.

“The second was a first class call and I think both are high priorities and I would have dispatched units as soon as possible.”

The inquest before Lord Bracadale has been adjourned until Thursday afternoon when further evidence is heard from Mr Stewart.

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