Man (21) dies after falling from moving police van in Maghera

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A YOUNG South Derry man has died in hospital after falling from a moving police van in Maghera.

He was named locally as 21-year-old Paul Somerville who was from the Maghera area.

Mr Somerville, who was in police custody at the time, fell from the vehicle at Church Road in the town around 1.20pm last Friday. He remained in a critical condition since the accident until his death on Wednesday morning.

The incident has been referred by the PSNI to the Police Ombudsman’s Office for independent investigation.

Police Ombudsman investigators have been at the scene and have photographed and mapped the route travelled by the van immediately prior to the incident.

A number of witnesses have already been identified, and investigators are currently conducting enquiries in the area in a bid to identify additional witnesses and CCTV footage.

The police van has also been seized and will undergo a detailed forensic examination this afternoon.

The Police Ombudsman’s Office has appealed for anyone who saw what happened, or has any information about the incident, to contact them.

They are particularly keen to hear from anyone who saw the police van, a liveried Volkswagen Transporter, registration number GEZ 7867, as it drove along the Crew Road, Station Road and Church Road areas of the town at around 1.20pm on Friday.

SDLP Councillor Kate Lagan said it had been a “shocking” incident and extended her sympathy to the man’s family.

“It must be a very difficult time for them having to deal with this,” she said.

Councillor Lagan urged anyone who saw what happened to come forward with the information.

Anyone with any information which may assist the Police Ombudsman investigation is asked to contact the Office’s freephone information line, which is 0800 032 7880.