A SERGEANT has denied "smirking or smiling" while restraining an epileptic man from Oxfordshire who died after being held face down in a police van.

Duncan Tomlin fell unconscious while being detained during a struggle in Haywards Heath in July 2014. The 32-year-old died in hospital two days later.

Five Sussex Police officers have been called to give evidence at his inquest.

Sergeant Christopher Glasspool previously told jurors at West Sussex Coroner's Court that Mr Tomlin had been "screaming and shouting incoherently" but then fell motionless as he lay face down on the floor with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Jude Bunting, the barrister representing Mr Tomlin's family, asked Sgt Glasspool on Friday if he was "smiling" or "smirking" in CCTV footage of the incident shown to the jury, which he denied.

He replied: "It's a facial expression. I do not think I am smiling, I do not remember smiling, I am not smiling."

Mr Bunting then asked: "Do you think it's funny?', to which Sgt Glasspool replied: "No, not at all."

Sgt Glasspool told the hearing that he was "closely and carefully monitoring" Mr Tomlin at all times.

The officer denied that he knelt on Mr Tomlin's back while in the police van and said that he was only using his shins to apply pressure to his shoulder blades.

He said a decision was made to put Mr Tomlin on his side to maintain his breathing when they realised there was a problem.

He said: "It was an emergency situation, a life-saving situation. The priority was to maintain his airways, the priority was to keep him on his side and maintain his airways."

Sgt Glasspool admitted some of his actions went against his training, adding: "I was panicking but I was still making rational decisions."

The inquest, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.