top of page
Institutional Racism.png


Who was Nuno Cardoso?

Nuno, from Kentish Town in London, was 25 years old and in the first year of a law course at Ruskin College in Oxford. His family describe him as a caring, charismatic and an outgoing person. They said he was the life and soul of their home, who wherever he went, would bring laughter.


The family stated: When he died, Nuno had just started his first year of a law course in Oxford at Ruskin College. He was excited to be starting on this new path. When he got the place, he called me straight away and said, “Mum, I will make you proud of me, I will be the best lawyer in the country, I promise.” Nuno was the soul of the house and was very outgoing. Anywhere Nuno was, people would be laughing and happy, he was very charismatic. He was also very caring.


Nuno was the youngest of my children, and the bonds we shared with him as a family have been broken so abruptly. Nuno and his sister used to speak constantly even when they lived apart, and he liked to check in on her, as if he were the older sibling. Every time we think of him we hear laughter. Often when we are together we remember his jokes, his witty comments or a story he once told, and are grateful to have shared those moments with him. We are thankful that we were blessed by such a beautiful, caring person even if for just a short time. We know so many people who feel lucky to have known him, he touched lives like an angel here on earth and is so greatly missed and will always be. (Inquest)


What happened?

Allegedly Nuno was involved in an altercation when police were called. He had gone to the shops in Headington with his two friends when they were approached by the police officers. They had questioned Nuno and his friends said that “Nuno seemed fine with this and allowed the officers to search him,".Nuno was in a joking mood, he wasn't aggressive or aggressive. According to his friend Ms Mahamba as soon as the police made physical contact, there was a panic and made a scuffle but he still never tried to run away. Officers had restrained Nuno and used their batons whilst getting him into the van, where he had collapsed. He had died from a suspected drug overdose.

What was the legal implication?

The inquest in relation to Nuno Cardoso’s death began a year and half after he died between 08/07/2019 - 17/07/2019. The inquest concluded with the jury reaching an uncritical narrative conclusion, despite the troubling evidence heard during the hearing. Nuno was one of five black men to die following use of force by police in the year 2017, the majority of which relate to the police’s response to drug swallowing or consumption. 


Police guidance at the time was that, if someone was believed or suspected to be packing drugs, they should be taken to hospital. However, Nuno was not taken to the hospital five or six minutes away, but instead was transported in a van to Abingdon Police Station, around 20 minutes away. Officers reported that, on the way to the police station, Nuno appeared to be chewing something, started to sweat and slumped in his seat.


The jury reached a narrative conclusion which included that:


  • They accepted the police officers’ evidence that they did not believe that Nuno had swallowed drugs or that he had anything in his mouth.

  • This was not a medical emergency until the situation rapidly changed when Nuno became unwell at approximately 5.20am.

  • Nuno died at 6.23pm from cardiorespiratory arrest caused by the combined drug intoxication caused by alcohol, cocaine and morphine (heroin).


No officers have been arrested or held accountable.

Further information.

If you want to find out more about  other victims of police and state violence in the UK, click here.

The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where restraint is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where use of force is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of BAME deaths in custody where mental health-related issues are a feature is nearly two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody.

bottom of page