14 March 2024



Every year around 700 families bereaved by deaths in police custody, prison and mental health settings contact INQUEST. Our vision is to end deaths caused by unsafe systems of detention and care, use of force and institutional failure.  

Anita Sharma, our Head of Casework, has been fighting alongside bereaved families for 13 years. Read Anita’s story to find out why our work is more needed now than ever.

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Despite hundreds of preventable deaths in state custody and care, or where wider issues of state accountability are in question, life-saving recommendations arising from inquests and investigations are repeatedly ignored. This leads to yet more deaths.

We asked bereaved families why they’re supporting our No More Deaths campaign for a national oversight mechanism.


The Justice Select Committee is currently conducting a follow up inquiry on The Coroner Service. We brought together a group of bereaved families in parliament to give evidence about their experiences of the inquest process.

Bereaved families often tell us that they want no one else to go through what they’ve been through. Our Director Deborah Coles also gave evidence to the committee and spoke about the impact of repeated deaths with no meaningful change.


INQUEST is delighted to announce our newest patron, Sanah Ahsan. An award-winning poet, writer, liberation psychologist and educator. Sanah has just published a debut poetry collection, 'I cannot be good until you say it'.

They join patron Linton Kwesi Johnson, acclaimed reggae poet and activist. We also continue to remember and mark the contribution of our longstanding patron, the late Benjamin Zephaniah.



As the deaths of Black and racialised people are some of the most violent, neglectful and contentious of all deaths in state custody, the question of whether racism contributed to the treatment of a loved one is invariably in the minds of Black and racialised families. Yet inquests rarely ever address race or racism. 

Our new guide, Achieving Racial Justice at Inquests, developed in collaboration with JUSTICE, legal experts, academics, and bereaved families, equips lawyers and coroners with the tools to recognise, raise, evidence and investigate issues of race and racism. 


Self-inflicted deaths in prison in England and Wales rose by 22% in 2023 compared to the previous year. Our Director Deborah Coles asked, “How many more deaths must it take before this government finally takes action that ends the needless imprisonment of women to save lives?”

Annelise Sanderson, 18, died a self-inflicted death at HMP Styal only five days after being discharged from mental health services. In January, an inquest found a lack of record keeping and communication failures at the prison.

Annelise’s death is one of 11 self-inflicted deaths at the prison since 2007, more than any other women’s prison in England. Her mother Angela Gray spoke to ITV News about how the prison failed her daughter.

"She was screaming from the rooftops for help, she was asking for help, I was asking for help for her, and she was just ignored.”

A coroner has raised serious concerns about the risk of future deaths at HMP Lowdham Grange and called for a duty of candour on prisons and staff following an inquest into the self-inflicted death of Kane Boyce. His fiancé Kate spoke to ITV News.


INQUEST has long argued that police cannot and should not be first responders to people in mental health crisis. The family of Mouayed Bashir know this only too well.

Mouayed, a 29-year old Black man, died following restraint by Gwent police whilst experiencing a mental health episode. Speaking after an inquest into his death, his family said:

“We knew justice wasn’t going to be served through an inquest. We were seeking accountability in these proceedings. What we take from this is the fact that failings around identification of ABD have been recognised.  

We want ABD to be recognised and taken seriously in South Wales and Wales as a whole. We think the evidence has shown, and those agencies have accepted, they need to do better.”

The Metropolitan Police Officer charged with the murder of Chris Kaba has been named as Martyn Blake, 40 years old, after an anonymity order was lifted at a hearing at The Old Bailey. INQUEST responded.


Inquests and investigations into the deaths of people in mental health hospitals continue to highlight serious failings in care across both NHS and private services.

Liam McGenity, was 29 when he died a self-inflicted death whilst an inpatient at a private mental health hospital in Warrington. An inquest jury found that neglect by the hospital, run by Elysium Healthcare, contributed to his death.

The Priory group has been fined £650,000 after admitting criminal failures for exposing Matthew Caseby, an NHS patient, to serious risk of harm. This is the third and largest ever fine faced by the Priory following a death under their care. 

Matthew's father Richard Caseby and our Director Deborah Coles spoke to Channel 4 News about his families fight for accountability.


INQUEST staff attended Grenfell Testimony Week which took place from the 23 to 26 January and set out to give the bereaved, survivors and residents of Grenfell the chance to express publicly, and to those they hold responsible, the devastating impact of the fire.

Will Lewallen, who campaigns with INQUEST after his brother Spencer died in a residential care home, reflects on the final day of Testimony Week as a space for restorative justice.


Have you listened to our new podcast Unlawful Killing yet? Hosts Lucy Brisbane and Lee Lawrence shine a light in injustice and speak with bereaved families about their fights for truth, justice and accountability.


INQUEST was very sad to learn of the death of Mick Ryan, a key part of INQUEST’s history. Author of Lobbying From Below (1996) which detailed the history and impact of our work. A friend and inspiration to many for his work around social justice and human rights.

Mick also played a key role in Radical Alternatives to Prison (RAP) both organizationally and through his contributions to RAP's journal The Abolitionist, which also highlighted INQUEST's work. We send our thoughts, and deepest sympathies, to his family and friends.

You can access Lobbying from Below, archive issues of The Abolitionist, and more of Mick's work here.


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

Mindfulness, Self-Care & Resilience – online training programme 

 Led by a bereaved family member who has been through the inquest process, and also has training in mindfulness, INQUEST is hosting an 8 week programme of online sessions which are focused on on mindfulness, self care and resilience.  

This programme is grounded in practical skills-based sharing. It will be held weekly on Friday mornings from 19th April - 17th May with a gap until final session on 31st May.  
Taster Sessions for this course will be held on Friday 22nd March 9:30am-11am. Come along to find out more, ask questions and try out some of the exercises before committing to the programme. 

Register here  

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 sessions March 14th & April 11th   
  • Evening – Fourth Wednesday of every month (6:30pm-8pm) - Next sessions March 28th & April 25th connect 

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

Here Together, Social Events - in person events 

Saturday 18th May 11:30am – 1pm  

On May 18, 2024, INQUEST will be hosting its inaugural multi-location Family Reference Group ‘Here Together’ event. Where we invite families to come together in different places around the country at the same time. Our aim is to build up social spaces and create a network of solidarity and empowerment, ensuring that no family has to endure this journey alone. 

These gatherings will bring together families who are either facing or have experienced an inquest involving state or corporate entities, offering space to share experiences, seek support, and navigate the complexities of seeking justice over a cup of tea/coffee and some cake.  

So far, we have Family Reference Group members hosting events in London, Liverpool, Sussex and Birmingham. We plan to join each group together online briefly.  

If you’d like to join an event or host an event, please register here for more details.