DUBAI // A British tourist who died in police custody after being arrested in Dubai had no bruises or signs of assault at the time of his death, a police official said today.
The official, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “These reports in the media that he was beaten by police are a pack of lies.
"He was examined by an independent pathologist who found no bruises or signs of assault.”
Lee Bradley Brown, 39, was arrested on April 6 at the Burj Al Arab after assaulting an Asian hotel worker and attempting to throw her off the balcony, according to the source. He was arrested on charges of assault leading to incapacitation, threatening and insults.
Police say his case was referred to public prosecutors who met with him on April 8. Brown was denied bail because of the severity of the charges.
Brown was held in custody at Bur Dubai Police Station, where he was visited by consular officials on April 7.
"We were aware that he had been arrested and he was visited by UK consular officials in Dubai last week," said a spokesman for the British Foreign Office.
At the time of the visit, Brown was said to be in good health.
The police official said Brown was vomiting the day before his death and on the day of his death but did not complain or request medical assistance.
The Foreign Office confirmed Brown had died in police custody on April 12, saying the embassy was in close contact with Dubai Police who are investigating Brown's death.
British newspapers reported this morning that a prisoner phoned Brown’s sister to tell her Brown had been severely beaten by police. They said he had been thrown against a concrete wall, and his head had been split open.
The British Embassy said they were in contact with Brown’s family and providing consular assistance.
A spokesman for the embassy said: “The Consul General has spoken directly to the Dubai Police at the highest level a number of times to stress the importance of a full investigation. The police have assured us that they are investigating and we are remaining in close touch with them.”
The spokesman also said embassy officials had contacted the Dubai Police about the safety of the four other British nationals detained at the same police station. “We visited those British nationals on 14 April. We are in the process of contacting their families in the UK,” he said.
A senior diplomat in London said last night: “I expect the body to be returned to the UK where there will be a full inquest, including a post-mortem examination to determine the exact cause of death.
“I do not expect any diplomatic fallout. The most serious consequences will be the harm the incident might cause to Dubai’s international reputation and, particularly, to its appeal as a holiday destination.
“Such deaths invariably attract international media attention, which will be extended by the inquest in Britain.
“The best thing the Dubai authorities can do in such circumstances is vigorously investigate the incident and then prosecute anyone responsible to the full, including the bringing of murder charges if that proves appropriate.”
The Jumeirah Group, which owns the Burj Al Arab, said: "We are aware of this issue and understand it is being handled by the relevant authorities; we therefore have no further comment. For privacy reasons, it is our policy not to disclose any details or information about guests who stay in our hotels or about our colleagues who work in them."
- Additional reporting by David Sapsted