02/07/2013 18:42 BST

Smiley Culture Death From Self-Inflicted Stab Wound, David Emmanuel Inquest Jury Rules

Reggae star Smiley Culture died from a self-inflicted stab wound to the chest during a police raid at his home, an inquest jury found today.

Surrey Coroner Richard Travers said he would make a report to the Metropolitan Police on changes or improvements to the supervision of a prisoner at their home during a search.

The 48-year-old singer, real name David Emmanuel, died from a single stab wound to the heart while police executed a search warrant at his Surrey home on March 15 2011.

smiley culture

David Emmanuel

The jury of five men and six women took 12 hours and 52 minutes to reach their majority verdict.

The jury foreman said: "David Victor Emmanuel took his own life. Although the tragic events of 15 March 2011 were unforeseeable, giving one officer the responsibility of supervising Mr Emmanuel and at the same time the premises search book was a contributory factor in his death."

The inquest heard that he stabbed himself after being arrested at the property in Warlingham.

The police inquiries concerned allegations of conspiring to import class A drugs into the UK, the court heard.

Smiley Culture found fame with a string of 1980s hits including CockneyTranslation, and appeared on Top of the Pops.

The inquest, which began on June 12, took place at Woking Borough Council's Civic Offices.

The stabbing happened in the kitchen when the musician stood up from his chair and "obtained a knife from an unknown location," the jury stated.

The coroner passed on his condolences to Mr Emmanuel's family, including his daughter Shanice McConnachie who had been in court throughout the hearing.

After the verdict Smiley's cousin, Merlin Emmanuel, said: "We have lost an integral part of our family.

"He had a lot of hope and he had a lot to live for. Why he should have wanted to end his life in that way I do not know, but I do not think he should have been in a position to do that."

Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) commissioner Mike Franklin said the officers were "left wanting" by the "ongoing dynamic assessments" they made ahead of the stabbing.

He said: "Four experienced officers felt it appropriate to detain a suspect in the kitchen, potentially the most dangerous room in the house, and afforded him a level of freedom not normally associated with an operation of this kind.

"The IPCC has made a series of recommendations to the Metropolitan Police following this investigation, presenting them with areas that should be reviewed and changed in light of the findings."

These include recommendations on dynamic risk assessments, the sharing of information and the use of officer personal safety equipment.

The IPCC also made two national recommendations in light of the death.

These included that officers should always detain people in the safest part of the house, which means kitchens must generally be avoided at all times.

The second national recommendation was that all officers and staff attending search operations should carry with them the appropriate personal safety equipment.

Mr Franklin added: "While the IPCC highlighted these areas of learning for the MPS, the officers' actions did not meet the threshold for misconduct under the Police (conduct) Regulations 2008 and no disciplinary action has been recommended.

"I hope that this inquest has provided Mr Emmanuel's family with some of the answers they and the community have so patiently waited for. This has been a long process for all the parties involved and I would like to thank them for their patience."

The death had caused "huge shock, anger and disbelief in the community" and Mr Emmanuel's family have waited over two years for the evidence to be heard at an inquest, he noted.

The Metropolitan Police said it is "a matter of deep concern and regret when someone dies in our care" and it is important the circumstances are thoroughly and independently scrutinised.

A spokesman said: "We recognise that the jury have made comment on the fact that a single officer was supervising Mr Emmanuel whilst also completing the search record, and we will fully consider any recommendations made by the coroner in this regard.

"We have co-operated fully with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation which concluded there were no criminal or misconduct issues for the officers to answer.

"We acknowledge the recommendations of the IPCC report concerning risk assessment and officer safety training, and have provided a detailed response as to how these recommendations are being addressed, and how changes are being implemented."