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JURY RULES DEATH OF ROBERT EDWARDS IN POLICE CUSTODY IN BURY ST EDMUNDS DUE TO INADEQUATE CARE
20 December 2013
Today the jury have reached a verdict on the death of Robert Edwards after a long inquest. They have found that Robert’s death was due to “inadequate care between 20 and 21 May 2011 whilst in police custody.”
Robert’s wife, Susan, his daughters Jaime, Lauren and Sara, and his sister Belinda wish to say the following:
“Rob is missed and loved by all of us. He had a number of challenges in life but our love for him is unchanged. His death has been a tragedy and it is a source of immense sadness that Rob’s life could have been saved at a number of points throughout the night of 20 May 2011 had he received prompt medical care.
"When Rob went into custody at Bury St Edmunds Police Station he was a vulnerable man who needed to be cared for. The police and medical professionals have a particular duty to the wellbeing of vulnerable people in their care. The jury have found that on a number of different occasions police officers or medical professionals failed in that duty and did not provide prompt or adequate care. The jury concluded that had Rob been taken to hospital earlier he would have survived.
"We can only hope that the lessons of this tragedy will be understood and that future deaths will be prevented as a result.
"We want to thank the Coroner and the Jury for their careful deliberation of the issues surrounding Rob’s death.”
Deborah Coles, co-director of INQUEST said:
“It is deeply tragic that the jury in this case has found that Robert Edwards’ death could have been prevented. He was a vulnerable man who was failed by those responsible for his care. The case has exposed disturbing failures by Suffolk police to follow what should be basic procedures and systems for the treatment and care of vulnerable detainees.”
INQUEST has been working with Robert Edwards' family since his death in 2011. They are represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Lochlinn Parker of Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors and Tim Baldwin, of Garden Court Chambers.
Notes to Editors:
1. The family will not be answering questions directly and ask that they are allowed to grieve in peace.
2. Please direct any questions to the family’s solicitor, Lochlinn Parker of Deighton Pierce Glynn solicitors, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘My congratulations to all involved in this 30 year battle for disclosure [of the Cass report on the death of Blair Peach] … it was this awful state of affairs which led those of us who founded INQUEST to set it up. But it is mind-boggling to think that we were still arguing over this report 30 years later.’
– Terry Munyard, barrister at Garden Court Chambers and founding member of INQUEST