The Metropolitan Police has "offered its sympathies" to the family of a homeless Greek national who died of hypothermia outside a London police station after being kicked out in the middle of a winter’s night.
The force also apologised to the family of Pericles Malagardis, who died in March 2016, aged 63, for the manner in which he was dealt with.
1 in 52 people in London are experiencing homelessness. And that increases by a new person every two hours. Even for someone who has worked to help these people, these statistics are horrifying.— Eloise Hooper (@emhooper22) October 2, 2020
An inquest at West London Coroner’s Court returned a narrative verdict on Thursday, 1 October, into the death of Mr Malagardis, who died after PC Bhupinder Kalsi told him he had to leave Uxbridge police station at 12.40am.
PC Kalsi, who then spent part of her shift watching a film on DVD, was later fired for gross incompetence in November 2018.
The inquest heard that Mr Malagardis and his dog Django were familiar figures on the streets of west London and would often sleep in Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport.
He had wanted to return to Greece but could not afford the airfare and wellwishers had reportedly been trying to contact his sons and arrange for him to fly home.
In March 2016 Mr Malagardis was treated in hospital for a skin infection and his dog was placed in kennels. When he came out he went to Uxbridge police station to collect Django.
An investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct found he was warned about smoking in the foyer of the police station and was then thrown out onto the street.
He remained outside the station all night as temperatures plunged below minus 1 degrees and was found “unresponsive” at 5.30am.
The inquest jury concluded he had died of “a pre-existing medical condition accelerated by hypothermia.”
The jury criticised officers at the station for failing to check on Mr Malagardis.
Commander Dr Alison Heydari, from the Met, said: "This is a tragic case and I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to Mr Malagardis’s family and friends."
She said: "In November 2018, we dismissed without notice a police constable for her failure to help Mr Malagardis that night and I apologise on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service for the manner in which she dealt with him and the lack of compassion she showed."
"We would never want our officers or staff to treat anyone in this way and I hope it brings a little comfort to Mr Malagardis’s friends and family that the way the Metropolitan Police Service deals with the public who attend our stations has changed and improved in recent years," added Dr Heydari.
IOPC regional director, Sal Naseem, said after the inquest: “This was a particularly tragic case as, so it turned out, Mr Malagardis was close to returning to home as money had been raised by local well-wishers to buy his flight back to Greece.”