Published Monday, December 10, 2018 12:27PM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 10, 2018 4:37PM PST
A coroner’s inquest began Monday into the death of David Singh Tucker, a sexual assault suspect whose body was discovered in a Surrey, B.C. pretrial facility two years ago.
Tucker, 28, was one of two men being held in custody following a disturbing attack at the University of British Columbia campus in May 2016, and was facing charges of sexual assault, unlawful confinement, robbery and disguising his face with the intent to commit a crime.
The suspect was being kept in a segregation unit when staff found him dead on July 25 of that year.
The inquest into his death began with testimony from his aunt, Susan Brennan, who read a statement from Tucker’s mother describing him as a troubled person who was diagnosed with behavioural disorders as a young boy.
Brennan told the jury her nephew had expressed a desire to turn his life around, and an interest in financial planning. She said he told her over the phone that he “was disgusted with himself” after his arrest.
“He felt like a monster,” she said.
Brennan also testified that Tucker shared plans to intentionally overdose on hoarded methadone while in custody, and she pleaded with officials at the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre to keep a close watch over him on July 20 – a few days before he was found dead.
According to the BC Coroners Service, Tucker was last seen alive when he was given his dinner around 4 p.m. on July 24. Officers found him unresponsive during a check the next morning.
One of the guards from the Surrey pretrial facility told the inquest Tucker was not on suicide watch at hte time, and that it was hard to see into his cell because the window on the door and the security camera lens were both scratched.
The jury also heard testimony from staff about how some inmates would pretend to drink their methadone by hiding gauze in their mouth to soak up the drug, which would then be sold to other inmates.
Tucker’s cause of death has never been publicly released. The inquest is expected to hear from a toxicologist and a pathologist on Tuesday.
The inquest will examine the facts surrounding Tucker’s death, but can’t make any finding of legal responsibility. The jury can make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future.
With files from CTV Vancouver’s Nafeesa Karim