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Tragic final moments of York ‘gentle giant’ who died after being restrained at jewellers

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A York man died last year from heart disease and being restrained after an incident in a jeweller’s, an inquest opening has heard.

Samuel Diatta, 39, died in July 2022 after an incident at the Mappin and Webb jewellery shop in York on July 26. He died later that day in hospital.

An inquest into his death opened yesterday, Monday, January 23, with the full inquest to take place later on. The coroner Jonathan Leach said it looked like Diatta had died of being restrained and hypertensive heart disease.

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North Yorkshire Police said at the time that a member of the shop staff and members of the public restrained Diatta after he became involved in an ‘altercation’ with security staff. When police arrived, he was unresponsive.

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Samuel was rushed to hospital after first aid was administered at the scene, but was sadly pronounced dead around 6.40pm that day. Police said at the time that they had not found any evidence suggesting the incident was a robbery.

Samuel’s friends paid tribute to him after his death, describing him as a “gentle giant”. His friend Tommy Holland said last year: “Sam was always very welcoming. He was very chilled out and relaxed – perhaps the most easy going person you could know.

“He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was a happy go lucky guy that was always smiling.”

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