AN investigation has taken place into the death of a woman who died falling off a footbridge over the road tunnel approach to Heathrow Airport.
Jianpiu Liu, 35, died on 13 November 2009, hours after being released from police custody.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission subsequently launched an inquiry to determine if officers had treated her correctly. It has recommended officers undergo further training.
The event caused chaos for drivers around Hillingdon and West Drayton at the time with roads around Heathrow Airport closed off, and the Gazette reported her death at the time.
Last week it published its findings, stating that potentially useful information about Mrs Liu was missed, and that police officers failed to use an interpreter to bridge language difficulties, both of which could have helped avoid her death.
Mrs Liu, born in China, moved to Britain in 2006, but suffered from mental health issues and depression, stating she was desperate to go back to her homeland to visit her family.
She was reported missing by her husband at Hounslow Police Station on November 4, but was not located until November 12, when found wandering without any passport or documentation, at Heathrow Terminal 3.
The police said that because of the way certain computer information was held on various systems, officers at Heathrow did not connect her to the reports of a missing person.
The next day they released her after checking with the UK Border Agency that she was in fact entitled to remain in the UK.
IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin said: "It is clear from the officers’ actions, the accounts they gave in interview and CCTV that they had the best interests of Mrs Liu at heart. "However, their actions were based on assumptions they had made about her ability to understand English, which meant it was impossible for them to accurately ascertain Mr Liu’s mental condition."
The IPCC has agreed with the Metropolitan Police Service that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate any breach of the code of conduct regulations but that the two custody sergeants who dealt with Mrs Liu would benefit from further training.