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Officers to face criminal charges of Perverting the Course of Justice and Perjury following the death of Kingsley Burrell.
12th October 2016
Kingsley Burrell, a 29 year old black man detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act, died on the 31st March 2011, following a prolonged and brutal restraint by police, which was compounded by a series of failures by medical staff to provide basic medical care.
The six week inquest into his death concluded in May 2015 with a finding of neglect, amidst a raft of highly critical findings, including that unlawful force was used by police and that this contributed to Kingsley’s death.
The CPS have now decided to charge three of the officers involved with Kingsley’s death with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and they will appear in the Magistrate’s Court on 31 October 2016. The charges relate to accounts given in witness statements and evidence given on oath by these officers at the inquest.
The CPS had previously declined to charge any of the police officers or medical staff with any offences arising directly from Kingsley’s death, such as assault or gross negligence. They were also asked to review that decision in light of the evidence heard at the inquest but have now indicated that they stand by their original decision on the basis that no new evidence has come to light.
The family of Kingsley Burrell said:
“The Burrell family welcome today's decision to prosecute the three officers concerned, in the belief that they must be publicly held to account for their actions in the circumstances surrounding the death of Kingsley.
“This has been a long time coming and the fight for Justice for Kingsley continues.
“At this stage we have no further comment.”
Deborah Coles, Director at INQUEST said:
“Whilst today’s charges are welcome the Jury’s findings were that Kingsley died as a result of neglect and unreasonable force in the care of the police and hospital staff. It is therefore difficult to reconcile the CPS’s decision not to bring other significant charges.”
Carolynn Gallwey, who represented Kingsley’s children and their mothers at the inquest, said:
“It is heartening to hear that the CPS has finally decided to prosecute three officers for giving dishonest accounts of their role in Kingsley’s death, to the IPCC and under oath to the inquest; and this should send a warning to police that the public expect them to act with absolute integrity in these situations. However, the inquest into Kingsley’s death also heard evidence, day after day, of how Kingsley was subjected to casual violence and neglect whilst supposedly in the care of the state. The jury concluded that this treatment was unlawful and caused his death. In spite of this, and in spite of the doubt that now attaches to these officers’ accounts the CPS say that there is no evidence which allows them to prosecute anyone for the circumstances of the death. That is not a decision that we feel should stand.”
INQUEST has been working with the family of Kingsley Burrell since March 2011. Carolynn Gallwey of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors represented Kingsley Burrell’s children and their mothers at the inquest. Kingsley’s sister Kadisha is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group member Beth Handley of Hickman and Rose solicitors
Notes to editors:
Please refer to INQUEST the organisation in all capital letters in order to distinguish it from the legal hearing.
For further information, please contact Anita Sharma on 020 7263 1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org
INQUEST provides specialist advice on deaths in custody or detention or involving state failures in England and Wales. This includes a death in prison, in police custody or following police contact, in immigration detention or psychiatric care. INQUEST's policy and parliamentary work is informed by its casework and we work to ensure that the collective experiences of bereaved people underpin that work. Its overall aim is to secure an investigative process that treats bereaved families with dignity and respect; ensures accountability and disseminates the lessons learned from the investigation process in order to prevent further deaths.