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Saturday, Oct 24, 2020

Uxbridge police officer watched film while rough sleeper froze to death outside

Pericles Malagardis, who was just weeks away from flying home to see his family, was kicked out onto the street despite temperatures being below freezing
A police officer who kicked a homeless dad out of Uxbridge Police Station watched a film with a colleague while the man froze to death.

Pericles Malagardis, a 63-year-old Greek national who often slept rough at Heathrow Airport, attended the police station on March 4, 2016 to collect his dog, Django, who had been in kennels.

Mr Malagardis, known to many as Peri, was told Django would be brought to the station the next day, and he remained in the reception area until 12.40am on March 5.

PC Bhupinder Kalsi, who was the senior officer working, threw Mr Malagardis out onto the street, despite temperatures being around -1 degrees.

He was found unresponsive five hours later, with a core body temperature of 26 degrees. He was pronounced dead an hour later.

At a gross incompetence hearing organised by the Metropolitan Police in November 2018, PC Kalsi was dismissed from the force with immediate effect.

It was found that, despite being aware he was outside the station in sub-zero temperatures, PC Kalsi failed to monitor Mr Malagardis’ condition while he was outside for nearly five hours.

She was also found to have been watching a film on DVD with a colleague throughout the night.

The case was also proven against her for unsatisfactory performance for viewing a DVD while on duty, following Mr Malagardis’ ejection from the front office/reception area.

A police staff member, also involved in ejecting Mr Malagardis, had a separate finding of poor performance following a management investigation hearing in December 2018. The staff member, who has not been identified, was instructed to update their emergency life support treatment training.

A jury inquest into Mr Malagardis’ death at West London Coroner’s Court began on Monday (September 28) and ended on Thursday (October 1).

It found that Mr Malagardis died of pre-existing medical conditions accelerated by hypothermia.

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.

“The lack of care towards Mr Malagardis by the officer and the staff member was particularly cruel and the failings of the officer to give adequate first aid was the major reason for her dismissal.

“Police officers have a duty of care for people they come into contact with, and Mr Malagardis was clearly failed by this officer.

“More than four years on, the impact of Pericles Malagardis’ tragic death lives on. Our thoughts remain with those who knew him.”

Mr Malagardis moved to London in 1989 and worked as a delivery driver for 11 years before falling on hard times.

After the breakdown of a relationship he started living in his car, but it was impounded seven years ago and he was forced to live on the streets.

But due to Mr Malagardis' "larger than life character" he became known in West London and was well liked by anyone he came across.

So much so that staff at Cockfosters station would top up his Oyster card so he could travel to Heathrow Airport and spend most nights in Terminal 5.

Staff at the airport, who became close to him over the years, would give him food so he wouldn't go hungry.

Some of the British Airways crew, along with a minister at Wembley who took Mr Malagardis under his wing, started crowdfunding for him to get a flight home to family he hadn't seen in years.

More than £6,000 was raised at the time of his death, and it's believed he was just weeks from booking the flight.

An inquest into Mr Malagardis's death revealed he died of pre-existing medical conditions accelerated by hypothermia.
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