A POLICE officer said an Oxford student 'honked' of cannabis on the night he died, but defended his decision that the man was not packing drugs.

At the third day of an inquest into Nuno Cardoso’s death, Oxford Coroner’s Court heard today how police believed the Ruskin College student was trying to frustrate them when he refused to open his mouth.

PC Robert Prout, the most senior officer on the scene, maintained the 25-year-old had 'no opportunity' to pack drugs during his arrest at the college in the early hours of November 24, 2017.

This was despite his colleague, PC Jordan Welch, spotting a 'lump' in Mr Cardoso's cheek at the time, which later disappeared.

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The student went into cardiac arrest while being transported to Abingdon Police Station at around 5.20am and the police van pulled over at Redbridge park-and-ride, but he died at the John Radcliffe Hospital that evening.

His cause of death has been given as cardio-respiratory arrest due to drug intoxication - involving alcohol, cocaine and morphine.

PC Prout said there was a 'strong smell' of cannabis in Mr Cardoso's room on the night he was arrested.

The Oxford Times:

The jury heard how the student lay prone and locked his arms under his chest to avoid being put in handcuffs.

While Mr Cardoso was lying down, PC Welch saw a 'small lump' in his cheek, but thought it was there because his face was pressed 'against the floor'.

As a result, the officer did not think the Angolan-born student had swallowed something when the lump disappeared.

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The officers both inflicted 'distraction strikes' to try to handcuff Mr Cardoso, although both denied using excessive force.

The court heard how Mr Cardoso was asked to open his mouth and the student made a noise PC Prout 'perceived to be a no'.

Mr Cardoso's mouth remained shut, with body worn footage revealing the officer told him he would have to go to hospital if he continued to resist.

But PC Prout told the court this was simply done to 'get some compliance', as it implied the student would spend 'substantially' more time with police.

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He said: "I believed he was trying to make things difficult and frustrate us."

Mr Cardoso's eyes were closed and head hanging forward when officers sat him down, but PC Prout said he did not appear intoxicated and it was just his 'behaviour'.

The officer added that the student was speaking 'freely and clearly the whole time' and 'walked of his own accord' to the police van, so there was 'no reason to suspect' he had swallowed drugs and needed to go to hospital.

When challenged by Una Morris, representing the family, PC Prout admitted he did not have constant sight of Mr Cardoso's hands and face.

He said he was aware that police guidelines state that someone detained must be transported to hospital if they're believed to have swallowed or packed drugs.

PC Welch drove the van towards Abingdon Police Station, while PC Charles Smith sat with the student.

The driver said Mr Cardoso began to chew and refused to spit the object out, before he became unresponsive and the van stopped at the park-and-ride.

PC Welch called 999 and began performing CPR, during which time he removed a small amount of 'herbal matter' from the student's mouth.

The inquest, which is expected to last two weeks, continues.