A decorator who was left paralysed down one side after being arrested after a night out in Brighton has been awarded £3.8 million in compensation from police.

Garry Reynolds suffered a serious head injury – which has left him wheelchair-dependent and in need of care for the rest of his life – shortly after being detained by officers in Brighton.

After a five year fight for justice, the 44-year-old, from Southwick, was awarded the sum yesterday after a hearing at London’s High Court.

However, after agreeing the settlement, those representing Sussex Police said the force accepted no responsibility for the injuries.

The action was brought through Garry’s brother, Graeme Reynolds, who acts as a carer for the former painter and decorator.

Describing the case as “tragic and unusual”, Judge Patrick Moloney QC thanked Graeme “on behalf of the public and the court” for the devoted care and support he has given.

The payout, which was approved during a short hearing, will be used to provide for Garry’s extensive care needs.

The case relates back to March 2, 2008, when Garry, who was a keen runner, was arrested in West Street, Brighton, in the early hours on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly.

He had spent the night at The Rock pub in Rock Street, Kemp Town, Brighton. After being detained, he was taken to the police custody centre in Hollingbury, Brighton.

The following morning, he was found unconscious in his cell and fell into a prolonged coma.

The case was investigated by the Independent Police Complaint’s Commission (IPCC) which, in 2010, found it was not possible to conclusively say how Mr Reynolds had sustained his injury.

The commission concluded the actions of those who arrested him did not amount to excessive force, nor had any individual police officer abused their authority.

However, Commissioner Mike Franklin concluded there was a “systematic failure” of those in the custody centre to “adequately look” after Mr Reynolds while he was in their care.

Speaking yesterday, lawyers acting for Mr Reynolds alleged the arrest was wrongful and that he was detained unlawfully.

His counsel, Simon Readhead QC, emphasised there was never any claim that officers had directly caused the head injury, but contended he had suffered it while handcuffed. The barrister said the case had now been settled and a payout was approved in a brief hearing at London's High Court.

Andrew Warnock QC, for Sussex Police, stressed the force had agreed to the settlement without any admission of fault, for “economic” reasons.

In a statement released after the hearing, Deputy Chief Con- stable Giles York, of Sussex Police, said he hoped the money would go “some way” to providing for Mr Reynolds’ future.

DCC York added: “How he came by the injury that has led to his disability has never been established and the claim has been settled with no admissions of liability. “

However, we accept that there was criticism of certain working practices within Brighton Custody Centre at the time that Mr Reynolds was in custody in 2008 and this led directly to the Association of Chief Police Officers revising national guidance.

“As a result, Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE) codes have been amended so that more checks are made on detainees by custody staff and an adequate level of care provided.

In addition, several staff were given advice in relation to the performance of their duties in respect of this case.”