THE 12-year-old son of a man who died in police custody has paid an emotional tribute to his father.

Joe Read has told of the close bond he shared with his father Mark Read, and described their mutual love of Liverpool Football Club.

Mark Read, 39, known to his friends as Graeme, died in a cell at Bath Central police station in Manvers Street the night before Christmas Eve, after Avon and Somerset officers arrested him for being drunk and incapable.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is carrying out an investigation.

Mr Read, a former pupil at George Ward School in Melksham and father-of-two, had been out in the city for a Christmas party with colleagues from Concept Publishing.

Officers later found him ‘unresponsive’ during a check and he was taken to the Royal United Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Mr Read’s funeral was held on Tuesday at West Wiltshire Crematorium in Semington, when hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects.

As well as being father to Joe Mr Read was also the father of seven-week-old Mia, the daughter of his partner Becky Williams, who lives in Frome.

Joe’s mother Tara Wallis, who lives in Melksham and is still very close to her former partner’s family, said: “Although we had parted, we had a very good friendship and we spoke to each other every day on the phone.

“We wanted to make sure our son was brought up with both parents around.”

Mr Read’s mother June, who lives in Sunderland Close, Bowerhill, said: “There were so many people at Mark’s funeral, it was quite overwhelming to see everyone there.

“We really did appreciate it and it is a comfort. We have had over 100 cards too from people offering support and family and friends have been amazing.”

She said her son had been very much looking forward to seeing his son on Boxing Day and Christmas had been ‘extremely hard’ for all the family.

A spokesman for the IPCC said: “A post-mortem has been held and results from some of the forensic tests are awaited.

“The investigation has secured CCTV footage from the police station and is in the process of securing any footage from cameras in the city which may have recorded Mr Read's movements in the two hours before his arrest.

“This will help build a complete picture for the investigation.”

Joe's tribute to his dad in full

“I saw my dad just before he died. If I had known that it would be the last time that I was going to see him, I would have wrapped my arms around him and never let him go.

“I did tell him that I love him and he always told me that he loved me, I think about that every day.

“My dad always watched me play football for Melksham Town Youth and cheered when I scored a goal.

“The next goal that I score I will point to the sky so that he knows it’s just for him.

“My grandad told me that he will watch me now, my dad would love that, I’m sure that he will be watching too.

“We always played on games consoles together. For Christmas he had bought me presents and had written lines on all of the cards.

“One of the games was for the Wii and read ‘Happy Christmas dude – let’s play!’”

“I found them very difficult to read and open but will treasure them forever.

“I have started a memory box with the help of my nan and granddad.

“I have chosen a Liverpool shirt because we both love Liverpool and some jewellery because we both like to look good.

“I wear my dad’s necklace all the time so that he feels close to me.

“I don’t know how my dad died but I know that I will always love and miss him.

“He was my great friend, we talked about everything together and laughed a lot.

“My great nan said we had our own language of looks instead of words.

“It’s hard moving on and getting back to normal but I know that he would want me to do well at school and with my football.

“I have family friends around me that are helping me get through this.”