12 June 2024



SoulsINQUEST exhibition has returned, this time at Platform, Glasgow.

An artistic collaboration between bereaved families, photographer Sarah Booker, and INQUEST, SoulsINQUEST is a powerful act of defiance in response to decades of injustice.

Linda Allan, whose daughter Katie Allan died at Polmont prison, and one of the exhibition contributors, wrote about transforming grief into resistance through photography for INQUEST's blog.

“So often when a life is lost at the hands of the state, the focus is on the death, the fight for justice, the pain.

SoulsINQUEST offered us a different journey, a place to share our ‘before’, to share Katie’s joy.”

Listed as one of the top 10 exhibitions to go and see in Scotland right now, make sure you come along if you can.

For Glasgow International Arts Festival, we’re hosting a series of events as part of the exhibition. Find out more.

Open until 29 June with a range of exhibition events.


Marcus Hanlin, a 57 year old man with Down’s Syndrome, autism and learning disabilities, died whilst living at Cheddar Grove Nursing Home in Bristol. He had swallowed conkers and rice after being left unsupervised. A coroner recently found that neglect contributed to his death.

Marcus’ death is one of 18 people with a learning disability or autism to have died preventable deaths in a care setting by choking. Yet despite repeated criticisms and recommendations for change following inquests, people like Marcus are continuing to die preventable deaths.

Preventable death’s like Marcus are why we are campaigning for a national oversight mechanism to make sure life-saving recommendations are followed up on and implemented.


As part of our campaign, our Director Deborah Coles spoke to the House of Lords for their Statutory Inquiries Committee.

"With every inquiry comes promises to enact change, yet there is no mechanism to oversee whether life-saving changes have been made. This is a serious accountability gap."

We also wrote to The Times about the urgent need for a national oversight mechanism to fix this accountability gap.


In April, we launched our first ever film – The UK is not innocent. From deaths in custody, to Hillsborough and Grenfell, it shows how state violence, neglect and denial operate and the ways we have resisted for over forty years alongside families.

The next viewing will be on 22 July at Rich Mix in Shoreditch, London. Save the date!

We’re also looking for other venues – from art galleries to community centres and schools - to screen the film across Britain. Get in touch if you, your group or organisation have a venue to offer.


INQUEST has long been evidencing the perilous state of our prison system and how they fail to keep us safe.

We wrote to the Guardian alongside our trustees Joe Sim and Steve Tombs about the radical changes needed to fix the failings of our broken system.

At the sharp end of a failing prison system are the deaths of people within their walls.

Christine McDonald, a 55-year-old mother of four, died a self-inflicted death at HMP Styal in March 2019. Her death is one of 26 at the prison since 2007. This is more deaths than in any other women’s prison. Now an inquest has found that neglect by the prison contributed to Christine’s death.

Her daughter Cheri spoke to ITV about her mother’s death and her inhumane treatment by the prison.  

Robert Fenlon, 36 died a self-inflicted death whilst on remand at Woodhill prison in March 2016. At the time of his death, Woodhill prison had the highest number of self-inflicted deaths of any prison in the country.

Now, an inquest jury has concluded that the reprehensible failures by two senior prison officers involved amounted to unlawful killing by gross negligence manslaughter.

This is the first time an inquest has found that a self-inflicted death in detention amounted to unlawful killing.

Robert's daughter Hennie and INQUEST Director Deborah Coles spoke to Channel 4 news following the historic inquest conclusion.


Mohamud Hassan, a 24-year old British-Somali man, died at home, following contact with South Wales Police, in Cardiff in January 2021. Now a coroner decided that the cause of Mohamud’s death was ‘unascertained’ and recorded an ‘open conclusion’ as to how he came about his death.

Mohamud’s family are devasted at the outcome.

Mohamud’s inquest follows the recent inquest into the death of Mouayed Bashir, a 29-year-old Black man who died following police restraint by Gwent police in February 2021. The inquest found his death was caused by cocaine intoxication, contributed to by Acute Behavioural Disturbance (ABD) following a period of restraint. 

INQUEST and Mouayed’s family contributed to a Guardian investigation on ABD and how it is an unproven medical condition routinely used in Britain to explain deaths after police restraint. 

Our Director Deborah Coles spoke about the dangers of the ABD being used as a deflection from the inherently dangerous use of police restraint for people in crisis.

INQUEST has long been campaigning alongside families for alternatives to policing, not least for people in crisis.

Last year, we contributed to Liberty’s Holding Our Own: A guide to non-policing solutions to serious youth violence alongside other incredible organisations fighting for change.

We’re delighted that this report has now won the Amplifying Voices award at the Sheila McKechnie Foundation National Campaigner Awards 2024.


Between 2016-2021, 53 mental health patients who died by suicide in the UK were identified as trans or non-binary. INQUEST have been monitoring their deaths.

Recently, two inquests looked into the self-inflicted deaths of transgender teenage boys who died whilst in the care of mental health services.

Charlie Millers, 17, died following a ligature incident whilst a mental health patient at Junction 17 ward, Prestwich Hospital in December 2020. Charlie was one of three young people to die in the unit of the hospital in less than a year. A jury concluded that there were multi-agency failings leading up to his death and that he did not intend to end his own life.

Jason Pulman, 15, died a self-inflicted death in April 2022 in East Sussex. His family had reported him missing earlier that day. An inquest found that Jason died by suicide and that gender dysphoria was a contributing cause to his death. The jury found system failures  by the organisations involved in his care.

The failures identified in their care come at a crucial time when the rights of young transgender people are being rolled back. iNews wrote about their deaths and how they expose the state of youth mental health provision.


This Friday, 14 June, marks seven years since 72 loved ones died in the Grenfell Tower Fire.

Join us and Grenfell United at 6pm at the Notting Hill methodist Church for the annual silent walk. Stand with us until justice comes.


The 15 April marked 35 years since the Hillsborough Disaster.

Then, and every day, we send our love and solidarity to the 97 people unlawfully killed, the survivors and those forever affected.

A Hillsborough Law must be their legacy. That’s why we’re continuing to campaign as part of Hillsborough Law Now for a duty of candour on public officials to end the culture of denial during investigations.


We’re back with Unlawful Killing, our podcast exploring death, resistance and the fight for justice.

In series one, we looked at the people dying in the institutions designed to keep us safe: prisons, police and mental health services. This series, we’re shifting the focus onto what comes next and how families are left fighting for truth, justice and accountability.


After more than seven years leading on INQUEST’s media and communications work, Lucy Brisbane McKay is leaving the team for pastures new.

“Today INQUEST said farewell to the fabulous Lucy who has led or media and communications work with such skill, energy, care and compassion, always with families at the centre.

As she moves onto a new life chapter we know she will thrive and continue to be a friend and ally.”

- Our Director Deborah Coles

Lucy will continue to present series 2 of the INQUEST podcast, and remains a firm supporter of the organisation and families.

Leila Hagmann will be stepping up and taking the lead on all things media and communications related.

Upcoming events and activities for families who have worked with INQUEST, past and present. 

Connection Cafes - online events  

The regular connection cafes are an online space for families supported by INQUEST, past or present, to come together, share, reflect, connect and build community, in a facilitated space. 

  • Morning - Second Wednesday of every month (10:30am-12pm) Next session 10 July

  • Evening – Fourth Wednesday of every month (6:30pm-8pm) - Next sessions 26 June & 24 July

To register for reminders and joining details please fill in this form. 

Website update

Our wonderful Family Reference Group have been busy these past few months. One of the things we focused on is enhancing the INQUEST Website for families when they first come into contact with the organisation.

Here Together  
On Saturday 18 May across four locations, Liverpool, Birmingham, London and Horsham, the Family Reference Group hosted a coffee morning – which included a small online join up section.
While venues and refreshments varied across the locations, there was a strong desire for more spaces and places for bereaved families to come together and build community.
We have decided to postpone our next event while we recruit more family members to help facilitate events.

If you are a bereaved person INQUEST has worked with and have navigated the inquest system and would like to host an event for INQUEST Families to attend – either in person online please email [email protected] before the end of June for more details.

All volunteers will
receive facilitation training, briefing and support from INQUEST to run these events.  
Banner Project

We are so proud of the banner families created last year and are planning to launch the accompanying booklet with stories from the participants on their loved ones and the meaning behind the squares very soon.  
This year, in time for the next UFFC March, we are planning on having an even more collaborative participatory project. We will be inviting families to come together and work on the same piece of fabric together, while chatting about whatever feels right in that moment. This year our accompanying piece will be a short film about the process.

Please stay tuned to hear about upcoming events. 


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