Fight to save killer choking on bag of drugs: Andrew Tombs was stopped by police in Hull
A POLICE officer has told of his battle to save the life of a killer choking to death on a bag of drugs.
Andrew Tombs, 38, collapsed in Sergeant Mick Stephenson's arms and turned blue seconds after police stopped him in central Hull.
Mr Tombs had tried to swallow more than two grams of heroin wrapped in a plastic bag but the package, slightly larger than a golf ball, got stuck in his oesophagus.
He was pronounced dead at Hull Royal Infirmary on May 11 last year.
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Mr Tombs was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for four years for giving his girlfriend a lethal injection of heroin in a school playground in 1996.
Sgt Stephenson told an inquest in Hull he approached Mr Tombs when he failed to respond to requests to stop as the known drug addict walked along Fountain Road with his
friend Darren Wilson. He said: "I walked up to him and put my left hand on his right shoulder to get his attention.
"The man turned towards me and made a grunting sound before lurching forwards.
"I took hold of his right arm and, as I did, he threw both of his arms backwards and his legs went from under him.
"He began to thrash about and I immediately realised he was having some kind of convulsion."
Sgt Stephenson said he kept hold of Mr Tombs as he fell backwards, lowering him to the ground.
"He appeared to be unconscious and the man immediately turned blue," he said.
Sgt Stephenson told the jury listening to evidence at the inquest he put Mr Tombs in the recovery position with the help of PCSO Wayne Mellors and called for an ambulance.
He continued to check his breathing and monitor his pulse while trying to clear his airway, unaware what was wedged further down, out of sight.
Sgt Stephenson said: "The police staff assisted the ambulance staff with the CPR.
"In my limited experience and knowledge of first aid, I can say we did all we could until the ambulance arrived."
The officers were praised by the ambulance crew for their "exceptionally good CPR".
Police had asked Mr Tombs and Mr Wilson to stop because they believed they were drunk or on drugs.
The inquest heard Mr Tombs, of Waterloo Street, city centre had a £30-a-day heroin addiction.
As well as being twice the legal drink-drive limit, Mr Tombs also had a cocktail of drugs in his system, including tramadol, diazepam, crack cocaine and morphine.
Pathologist Philip Lumb said the cause of death was choking and that it was likely to have happened around the time Mr Tombs had been approached by the police in the street.
He said: "He wouldn't have been able to walk around with that blockage in his airway for very long.
"He would have collapsed quite quickly."
The officers involved were subjected to an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) following Mr Tombs's death.
The findings of the investigation will be published after a verdict is reached by the jury in the inquest, which was expected to be today.
A statement read by Mr Tomb's partner of six years, Marie Wormald said: "I really love and will always miss Andrew. Not a day goes by without me crying.
"He's missed by his kids and his family."
Mr Wilson was unable to give evidence at the inquest yesterday because he was ill in hospital.