The INQUEST Family Reference Group is made up of people directly affected by a contentious death, and supports and contributes to our work from a family perspective.

Marcia Rigg

Marcia’s brother Sean Rigg died in 2008 following restraint by multiple police officers while experiencing a mental health crisis. The jury returned a four-page litany of failures by South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the police officers and others. "When Sean died back in 2008, if it wasn't for INQUEST and their lawyers my family would have been totally unaware of the huge stumbling blocks we were to face with the whole process of losing a loved one in State Custody. Frankly, it is impossible for any family to work without them! They have been a saving grace and so it is an honour to sit on their Family Reference Group, not least because it is important that families’ voices are heard jointly with INQUEST in the struggle for equal rights and justice. Families are too often wrongfully left as victims, indefinitely."

Tippa Naphtali

Tippa’s cousin, Mikey Powell had a history of mental illness. He was violently restrained by officers whilst in a distressed state in 2003. An inquest jury found that Mikey died from positional asphyxia. “My family would have been isolated and alone if not for the support of INQUEST when Mikey died in 2003. We join INQUEST and others in tackling the often poor quality and speed of investigations conducted by the IPCC, and an inquest process that is still seriously flawed in many respects. Both often fail victims and their families.”

Tania El-Keria

 

Tania’s 14-year-old daughter, Amy El-Keria, died in 2012 at Priory Ticehurst Hospital after being admitted as an informal mental health patient. The inquest concluded that neglect had contributed to Amy’s death, with the jury identifying wide-ranging individual and systemic failures on the part of the hospital. “It has been a long road since Amy’s death. We waited three and a half years for an inquest in between changing solicitors and a coroner. And now nearly six years on we are still seeking justice. None of this will bring my Amy back but I hope in the future that her story will prevent other vulnerable people and their families from having to go through the same nightmare.”

Lee Lawrence

In 1985, Lee’s mother Dorothy Cherry Groce was shot and paralysed by police officers following an ill planned dawn raid on her home. She died in 2011. The jury found that the shot resulted in medical complications leading to Cherry’s death. “The journey that I and my family have been on has been a very long and strenuous one. At times we did feel as though we were fighting a losing battle but whenever we began to feel consumed, we remembered the fight that mum faced for 26 years, drew strength from it, and persevered. I want to encourage other despairing families to seek the truth and find justice in their own battles.”

Lee Jarman

Lee’s brother Kevin Scarlett had history of mental ill health. He died in 2013 in Woodhill Prison. The jury returned a critical narrative identifying a number of steps that should have been followed to safeguard Kevin against a risk of suicide and self-harm. “I joined the Family Reference Group after my brother, Kevin, died in prison custody. My brother suffered from poor mental health and I want to raise awareness about its impact on him and our family. Through my experiences I wanted to make a positive difference to how other people with mental health problems are supported in prison.”

Anna Susianta

 

Anna’s son Jack Susianta died in 2015 after being chased by the police, causing him to jump into a canal, where he was watched drowning by a large crowd who were held back. He had previously suffered a drug-induced psychotic episode and been taken to Homerton Hospital A&E where he was subjected to a high level of restraint by police officers. "Jack's family believe that the police should and could have dealt with Jack with appropriate care, which would have saved his life. Jack was fun loving, joyful, determined, brave, clever, thoughtful and caring.  He was passionate about corruption and inequality, especially poverty and racial discrimination.  Our lives are diminished by his loss.”

Tony Herbert

Tony's son James Herbert died in police custody 2010. The inquest heard that restraint, a lack of communication amongst the officers regarding James’ mental health and a delay in calling for medical help may have contributed to his death. “INQUEST have provided huge support since we lost our son James in 2010, not least through an opportunity to meet other bereaved families.  It is a privilege and a pleasure to be part of the family reference group to do my bit to help INQUEST continue to support families so well.”

Aziz Ahmed

Aziz’s uncle, Daha Mohamed, died whilst detained in a mental health unit, the Bracton Centre, Dartford, in 2014. The inquest jury concluded that Daha’s death was linked to multiple failings, including inadequate monitoring of Daha’s health on the night of his death. Since the death of my uncle I’ve decided to help people who are going through the same experience that we went through and give them the advice and guidance they need. From time to time I work as a translator/interpreter for both of my communities (Arabic and Somalian) and in the past I’ve done translation work for INQUEST on the Grenfell tower disaster.”

Mark Saunders

After suffering a rapid deterioration in his mental health and attempting to take his own life, Mark’s son Dean Saunders was charged with attempted murder and transferred to HMP Chelmsford rather than being detained under the Mental Health Act in hospital. In prison, Dean died a self-inflicted death. An inquest later found this was contributed to by neglect from the prison. I was determined that Dean would not have died in vain, nor would anyone else. With the help from INQUEST, our legal team and our media work, we secured major coverage of Dean’s case. We raised Dean’s case in parliament, secured Westminster debates and gave evidence to parliamentary inquiries on prison reform and mental health.”