Nicole Short said she believed Sheku Bayoh was going to ‘finish [her] off’ when trying to arrest him, an inquiry into his death has heard (Picture: PA)

A former police officer feared a man being handcuffed was going to ‘finish her off’, she told an inquiry into his death yesterday.

Sheku Bayoh, a 31-year-old trainee gas engineer, died in May 2015 after he was restrained by officers responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Nicole Short claimed she was told Mr Bayoh had stamped on her head as she and colleagues tried to arrest him.

The former officer also told the inquiry Mr Bayoh had later been in a ‘press-up’ position but had still managed to lift three male officers off the ground.
She said: ‘It was like nothing I had ever seen before in my life.’

She added: ‘I had a genuine belief he was going to get up and finish me off.’

In her first witness statement relating to the incident, Ms Short said Mr Bayoh was ‘deranged with super-human strength’.

She was asked by Angela Grahame QC, senior counsel to the inquiry, what was meant by this, to which Ms Short replied: ‘I would say initially the super-human strength element came with the Pava and the CS spray having absolutely no effect on him.

‘The next one was the strength he showed by lifting those three male officers off the ground.’

She said she believed the level of restraint used by her colleagues was ‘completely in line’ with the violence and resistance shown by Mr Bayoh.

The former PC arriving at Capital House in Edinburgh for the public inquiry into Sheku Bayoh’s death (Picture: PA)

Mr Bayoh died in May 2015 after he was restrained by officers responding to a call in Kirkcaldy, Fife (Picture: PA)

The former officer was taken to hospital for treatment after the incident.

Ms Short said: ‘Physically I felt sore. Sore head, knees, hands, side.

‘Emotionally, I just felt absolutely broken, to be honest.’

Ms Grahame asked what it was about Mr Bayoh’s demeanour that made her feel he was the most ‘frightening, crazy man’ she had ever seen in her life.

Ms Short replied: ‘It was so out of control.’

Ms Short was asked if they would have employed the same tactics had Mr Bayoh been white.

She replied: ‘The colour of his skin had no bearing on how we reacted to that call whatsoever.’

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Earlier yesterday, the inquiry heard how Ms Short had ran from Mr Bayoh after being ‘overwhelmed by terror’, before falling to the ground after receiving a blow to the head.

The inquiry has been told Ms Short has been rendered ‘permanently disabled’ from injuries she sustained on the day of Mr Bayoh’s death.

Ms Short, who the inquiry heard is 5ft 1in tall, was one of the officers responding to 999 calls reporting that Mr Bayoh had been seen carrying a knife.

Protesters have referred to Mr Bayoh as ‘Scotland’s George Floyd’ since the Black Lives Matter Movement

The inquiry continues.

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