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Coroner’s inquest to look into death of Langley man

Nicholas Goulding died in police custody almost four years ago
The death of a Langley man will be the subject of a B.C. Coroner’s inquest. (Langley Advance Times files)

A Langley man who died shortly after being arrested by the Langley RCMP will be the subject of a B.C. Coroners inquest starting on March 11.

The inquest into the death of Nicholas Patrick James Goulding is set to take place at the Burnaby Coroners’ Court, and is expected to be livestreamed as well.

Goulding, 29, died on Oct. 23, 2019, while in police custody. Inquests are mandatory for any deaths while in custody or while being detained by police officers in B.C.

The office of the B.C. Coroner confirmed the death took place in Langley.

Goulding appears to have been the man who died after he was taken into custody near 72nd Avenue and 208th Street on the Willoughby slope in the early morning hours that day.

According to a report by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the incident began with a dropped phone call to 911.

The 911 dispatcher attempted to call back twice, then pinged the cellphone to find its approximate location, and an RCMP officer was sent to the area to investigate. The caller was known to police, and was believed to be someone with mental health and drug use issues, according to the IIO report.

The officer found the caller at 3:19 a.m., just 14 minutes after the first call. The officer called in other RCMP and asked that Emergency Health Services be put on standby.

According to the IIO report, officers found the man in need of medical assistance and “in a drug-induced state.”

A second officer who arrived a minute later reported the caller was “super high on something” and fighting with police.

READ ALSO: Officers used appropriate force in arrest before drug overdose death in Langley: IIO

Three officers eventually took the caller into custody at 3:26 a.m.

During the incident, one officer reported to the IIO that another officer hit the caller in the abdomen three times, saying “Stop resisting,” while attempting to put on handcuffs.

The punches were referred to as “distraction blows.”

The caller was unconscious two minutes after the arrest. Officers gave him naloxone and started CPR, which was taken over by firefighters and then paramedics, but the man died by 4:11 a.m.

A later autopsy found cracked ribs, but could not say whether those were the result of the fight with officers or from the CPR. The cause of death was found to be a cocaine overdose, with the injuries not a factor.

Coroner’s inquests are not trials. They are public inquiries that attempt to determine the facts of a death, and to make recommendations to prevent deaths in similar circumstances in the future.

The presiding coroner in this hearing will be Carolyn Maxwell. A coroner’s jury will make recommendations after the hearing is over.

Livestreams are available on the Coroner’s Service website.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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