Sheku Bayoh: The Inquiry podcast – Matters of the heart 3

Sheku Bayoh: The Inquiry podcast – Matters of the heart

Episode six – Matters of the heart

“The heart can carry on beating almost to the bitter end.” Professor Sebastian Lucas, expert witness

Physiologically speaking, the human heart is the body’s engine room, pumping blood and oxygen around the body.

It contracts with a regular rhythm and a steady beat from the second we are born to the moment we die.

That mechanism runs on repeat, contracting, pumping, carrying, returning. Until – sometimes suddenly – it stops.

Sheku Bayoh slipped out of consciousness on the morning of Sunday, the 3rd May 2015 after he had been restrained by police for about eight minutes.

He went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance. In Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital, the medical team spent more than an hour attempting  to resuscitate him and restart his heart. But ultimately he was pronounced dead at 9:04 in the morning.

And so it is that, at 2pm on Monday, 4 May 2015,  forensic pathologists Dr Kerryanne Shearer and Dr Ralph Bouhaidar found themselves standing in front of Sheku Bayoh’s body at Edinburgh’s city mortuary.

The heart of the matter

This episode is a pivotal one. It summarises what the experts have told the inquiry about the cause of Sheku Bayoh’s death.

His family and friends believe that he was killed as a result of the police restraint. Police, meanwhile, have always denied wrongdoing.

But what did the postmortem evidence show? We look at what expert witnesses told the public inquiry about Sheku Bayoh’s cause of death in hearing three.


Written and produced by Karin Goodwin

Research by Tomiwa Folorunso

Recording, editing and sound design by Halina Rifai

Original music by Alan Bryden

Listen to all the evidence from the Sheku Bayoh Inquiry, or find out how to get a ticket to attend in person at

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