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Home   Medway   News   Article

Gillingham man Denby Collins' parents bid to clear his name as he remains in a coma nine weeks after burglary arrest

14 February 2014
by Jenni Horn

The parents of a man who has been in a coma for nine weeks are desperate to discover how he ended up unconscious following reports of a burglary.

Denby Collins remains in Medway Maritime Hospital more than two months after he was arrested at a house in Gillingham.

When police arrived in Lower Rainham Road it is thought he was unconscious and had to be brought back to life by a police medic. He might never recover.

Denby Collins in hospital

Denby Collins in a coma in hospital

Police are investigating how the self-employed recruitment consultant came to be in the house, about a mile from his home in St Alban's Close.

His father Peter said: "If you go to the hospital to see Denby, he looks barely out of his teens; he is a very fit and strong young man. To see him in a coma is a tragedy.

"We've been told he is in an hypoxic coma caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.

"They've said it is impossible to predict an outcome. Initially, they said at best he would recover; at worst he would be brain dead. We were devastated as you can imagine."

Mr Collins' father, Peter, and mother Janet are trying to piece together what happened to their son in the hours between when they last spoke to him over the phone on December 14, last year, at around 8pm, and the following day when he was arrested.

Mr Collins said: "When Janet spoke with him he was calm and happy that we had bought replacements for things stolen from him in September – a TV and fridge, he didn't say anything about going out that night.

"I don't accept that Denby was attempting to burgle anyone's house at 3am – it just doesn't make any sense, it isn't like him to do anything like that.

"What I understand is that when the police arrived at the house in question, Denby was flat out and unconscious and had to be brought back to life by a police medic."

Denby Collins has been in a coma for almost nine weeks

Denby Collins has been in a coma for almost nine weeks

Mr Collins' parents have instructed lawyers because they are unhappy with the information they have received from Kent Police.

They have asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission to urgently open an investigation into the conduct of the officers who arrived at the house.

A Kent Police spokesman said: "A 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of burglary and taken to hospital for medical treatment.

"Inquiries are ongoing into the circumstances of how he came to be in the house.

"Detectives are particularly interested in speaking to people who saw Denby Collins between 4pm on December 14 and 3.15am on December 15."

"I don't accept that Denby was attempting to burgle anyone's house at 3am – it just doesn't make any sense, it isn't like him to do anything like that..." - Denby Collins' father Peter

Denby Collins' parents have appealed for anyone who may have seen their son to come forward.

Mr Collins said: "I urge anyone who saw Denby or knows anything about what happened to him on the evening of Saturday, December 14, and early into Sunday, December 15, to contact the police with their information.

"We now think he may have gone eastwards from his house in St Alban's Close, Gillingham, possibly to The Barge public house on Layfield Road.

"It's then possible he went further eastwards to Pier Road, Danes Hill or Lower Rainham Road.

"Anyone who might have seen Denby in The Barge or anywhere in Gillingham or elsewhere in the area that evening, wearing the distinctive hat shown in the picture, may have vital evidence that will help us and the police understand what happened to leave in a coma."

Mr Collins was wearing a black leather jacket, blue jeans, grey and black trainers and what his father described as his 'trademark' floppy brown sun hat.

He is around 5ft 8ins and with blond shoulder-length hair and a beard.

Anyone with information is asked to phone DS Cara Ferguson on 01634 792584 or Kent Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

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