In this edition:


SEEKING JUSTICE FOR GRENFELL

INQUEST are continuing to work with and help bereaved and survivors from the tragedy. Today, INQUEST responded to the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint two panel members to phase 2 of the Public Inquiry.

A parliamentary debate on the Grenfell Tower fire will take place on Monday 14 May. In advance of the debate, we were joined by over 80 MPs at a parliamentary event at Speakers House in support of Grenfell United and have published a joint Parliamentary Briefing with Grenfell United. MPs who attended the event were visibly moved by the accounts of survivors and the bereaved.

A rally will take place outside parliament on Monday 14 May between 3-6pm to coincide with the debate.


EMPOWERING FAMILIES

Our Family Hub is now live on the INQUEST website. Here families can find a range of resources and support as well as opportunities to engage in our media, policy and campaigns work.
 
Maryann Foxall has written a powerful blog about the death of her 19 year-old son Jake, at Glen Parva prison in 2015. Please get in touch with our family participation officer Ayesha at [email protected] if you would like to share your experience.

INQUEST’s Family Reference Group came together in London in April. The group spans a range of families impacted by a state related death and draws on their unique insights to help other families dealing with the practical and legal challenges of a contentious death. Discussions involved how to set up a buddy-up scheme for bereaved families and document families fight for justice via a photography project. Watch out for developments on these initiatives in the coming months.
 
The INQUEST report of the Family Listening Day for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (now Independent Office for Police Conduct – IOPC) has now been published online.


DRIVING CHANGE

Seni’s law has passed through committee stage. The Mental Health (Use of Force) Bill, brought by Steve Reed MP to honour the memory of Seni Lewis, will next be considered at Report Stage and Third Reading on Friday 15 June 2018. Steve Reed explains why the bill is so urgently needed here.
 
Our new report, Still Dying on the Inside, was launched in parliament with families of women who have died in prison. The report reframes deaths in custody as a form of violence against women and calls for an end to the inappropriate imprisonment of women.

INQUEST caseworker Selen Cavcav was on BBC Radio Wales speaking about the need for thorough and prompt investigations following a death in prisonListen online from 60 minutes.

Selen Cavcav also spoke at the #JusticeforCol campaign launch. Colette was an artist, killed in July 2016, aged 35. She was autistic and a patient at Milton Park private hospital when she died. The family of Colette are now fighting for a full, open inquest which is presently being denied.
 
INQUEST Executive Director, Deborah Coles spoke alongside Marcia Rigg at a conference on Race, Mental Health and State Violence. Deborah also chaired the Netpol event on ‘The End of Policing’ with Alex S Vitale.
 
Deborah Coles met with the UN’s special rapporteur on racism, Tendayi Achiume, during her visit to the UK. She raised with her the “unacceptable delay and obfuscation in ­establishing truth and ­accountability about Sheku Bayoh’s death”.
 
UN human rights experts raised the issue of structural racism and deaths in custody with the UK government. Deborah, who gave a presentation to the panel in Geneva in November said: “The racial stereotype of the black man as ‘big, black and dangerous’, ‘violent’ and ‘volatile’, when woven into police culture and practice, can lead to the disproportionate and fatal use of force”.
 
INQUEST’s Head of Policy, Rebecca Roberts spoke about child deaths following police contact at the Youth Justice Legal Centre’s annual youth justice summit.


SCRUTINISING POLICE (MIS)CONDUCT

There have been a number of developments in cases involving deaths following contact with the police.
 
The family of Kevin Clarke have been left with ‘many questions’ about the circumstances of Kevin’s death. The IOPC announced that nine police officers are now under investigation for gross misconduct. Deborah Coles told iNews “it’s really important that the investigation looks at the impact that race may have had on the way Kevin Clarke was treated”.
 
The IOPC announced an investigation into Dorset Police following the death Gaia Pope. Gaia was reported missing on 7 November 2017 in Swanage and her body was found 11 days later.
 
Almost a decade after the death of Sean Rigg, the IOPC directed gross misconduct charges for the officers involved.
 
The family of Adrian McDonald were devastated when the officers involved in his death successfully appealed proven misconduct charges. Adrian died aged 34 on 22 December 2014, following his arrest by Staffordshire police, during which he was tasered and seriously bitten by a police dog. The inquest is scheduled for November 2018.
 
Five and a half years after his death, the family of Thomas Orchard have been informed that the CPS will bring a Health and Safety prosecution against the office of the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall police.


PREVENTABLE DEATHS IN STATE CARE

An inquest found failures by an NHS trust contributed to the death of Adrian Jennings, two weeks after discharge from mental health unit. The Coroner concluded that Adrian’s death was drug-related, contributed to by a failure to put in place and communicate an effective support plan following discharge from hospital.
 
Southern Health, who admitted failing two patients who died in its care, has been fined over £2 million. Sara Ryan, the mother of Connor Sparrowhawk said that ‘no-one should die a preventable death in the care of the state’. At prime minister’s questions, Jeremy Corbyn paid tribute to the families of Connor Sparrowhawk and Teresa Colvin for their ‘dignity in campaigning for answers’.
 
The inquest into the death of Danny Tozer in Mencap supported living did not find neglect, but commented that the communication between Danny’s family, care providers Mencap, and City of York Council who commissioned the care, was not satisfactory. The inquest was live tweeted here: @TozerInquest
 
The coroner at the inquest of Oliver McGowan concluded that his care was ‘appropriate’ despite his parents having made clear directions that he was not to be given antipsychotic medication due to his previous reactions, which led to the teenagers' death.


Supporting INQUEST

Our casework, policy and campaigning efforts are only possible through charitable grants and donations we receive. The INQUEST team will be taking part in the London Legal Walk 2018. You can support us by making a donation here where all funds raised by the team will go directly to INQUEST.