UBC sexual assault suspect David Singh Tucker dies in police custody after suspected drug overdose

UBC sexual assault suspect David Singh Tucker dies in police custody

Tucker was facing several charges, including sexual assault with a weapon, forcible confinement and robbery

CBC News Posted: Jul 29, 2016 9:05 PM PT Last Updated: Jul 29, 2016 9:17 PM PT

David Singh Tucker was charged in relation to an incident at UBC in May.

David Singh Tucker was charged in relation to an incident at UBC in May. (Felicity Don/CBC)

A man charged in relation to a violent sexual assault on the UBC campus has died while in police custody.

The B.C. Coroners Service confirmed that David Singh Tucker, 28, died at the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre late on July 24 and was found by staff early July 25.

Coroners service spokeswoman Barb McLintock said the cause and manner of Tucker’s death were under investigation.

B.C. Corrections confirmed the death and expressed condolences for Tucker’s family.

“Any custody-related death is a tragedy, and I can assure you that each and every one is taken extremely seriously,” said spokeswoman Amy Lapsley.

“We are conducting a critical incident review to investigate the circumstances, relevant history, and possible contributing factors preceding this death, to make recommendations that may reduce the likelihood of similar incident in the future.”

Tucker and 23-year-old Yuan Zhi Gao, the co-accused in the case, were both charged in May with one count of breaking and entering.

Tucker was also charged with three counts each of:

  • Sexual assault with a weapon.
  • Forcible confinement.
  • Robbery.

He had also been charged with one count of wearing a mask with intent to commit an indictable offence.

Gao was granted bail in May after posting a $50,000 bond with conditions that included not going west of Blenheim Street, onto the UBC Campus or Endowment Grounds.

He was also banned from having contact with the alleged victims or Tucker.

The pair were arrested in May outside an apartment on Birney Avenue near Westbrook Mall on the UBC campus.

At the time, RCMP said the victims and suspects did not know each other.

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UBC sex assault suspect dies in Surrey pre-trial jail

Surrey Pretrial Centre (jail), 2009 F. Boudville/Flickr. Reuse allowed by Creative Commons licence. CREDIT MANDATORY [PNG Merlin Archive]
A man accused earlier this year of sexual assaults at the University of B.C. has died in Surrey pre-trial jail after a suspected drug overdose.F. BOUDVILLE / VANCOUVER SUN

 A man accused earlier this year of sexual assaults at the University of B.C. has died in Surrey pre-trial jail after a suspected drug overdose.

David Singh Tucker was found unresponsive in his cell in the B.C. government facility in the early hours of July 25, Barb McLintock of the B.C. Coroners’ Service confirmed Friday.

McLintock said her agency is investigating the death.

“We have not yet determined a clear cause and manner of death; investigation is still ongoing in that regard,” she said.

But sources have told the Sun that Tucker, 28, is believed to have overdosed on an unknown substance.

Contraband narcotics have been an on-going problem in both provincial and federal jails in B.C. Two years ago, a B.C. government report on safety in jails said that over a five-year period “there were 1,445 incidents involving drugs in our institutions.”

“The presence of drugs is a continuing issue that requires ongoing diligence and vigilance,” the report said.

B.C. Corrections media officer Amy Lapsley said in an email Friday that that the agency is also investigating Tucker’s death.

“Safety is B.C. Corrections’ top priority, and we are conducting a critical incident review to investigate the circumstances, relevant history, and possible contributing factors preceding this death,” she said in an emailed statement.

“We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of this individual. Any custody-related death is a tragedy, and I can assure you that each and every one is taken extremely seriously.”

Tucker was charged on May 1 with break and enter and three counts each of sexual assault causing bodily harm, forcible confinement and robbery. He also faced one count of wearing a mask with intent to commit an indictable offence.

He and a co-accused Yuan Zhi Gao, 23, were arrested the night before outside an apartment building in the 5700-block of Birney Avenue. Gao is charged with break and enter to commit robbery and has been released on bail.

(…)

 

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