Before Senior Coroner Andrew Harris
Southwark Coroner’s Court (via audio link)
Opens 7 September, 10am
Scheduled to 2 October

Kevin Clarke, a 35 year old black man, died following restraint by Metropolitan Police officers in Lewisham, South London, on 9 March 2018. Kevin was in mental health crisis when he encountered and was ultimately restrained by police. The Metropolitan police officers then report he ‘became unwell’ and was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  

The inquest into Kevin’s death opens on 7 September and will be available to view via a pre-booked audio link. It will examine the actions of police, and whether these contributed to or caused his death. Kevin’s death comes in the broader context of the disproportionate use of force against black men, and the well known risks of restraint highlighted in recommendations arising from previous deaths.

The family describe Kevin as a loving, trustworthy, charismatic person who was seen by many as a gentle giant. Kevin was athletic and community minded. He supported many young people in his local area, particularly through sport. He aspired to one day be a football coach. Kevin was diagnosed with schizophrenia with paranoia. He resided in assisted living at the time of his death, and had previously experienced mental health crises which led to detention under the Mental Health Act.

Wendy Clarke, Kevin’s mother, said on behalf of the family: “Kevin’s death has been devastating for his family and friends. We need a detailed and accurate account of the circumstances of his death including the use of force, medical emergency assessment and response. We hope that this inquest will provide us with answers we and the community need.”

Anita Sharma, Head of Casework at INQUEST, said: At a time of national and international focus on race and policing, it is vital this inquest allows for the utmost scrutiny of the circumstances of Kevin’s death.  Too many black men have died following use of force by police in the UK, while successive reviews show our criminal justice and mental health systems fail black and minoritised people.”



For further information, please contact the media team Lucy McKay and Sarah Uncles on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected]; [email protected]  

Interviews with the family, legal team, and INQUEST are available on request. A photo of Kevin is available here. Please contact the Coroner’s Court directly to arrange access to the video link showing proceedings.

INQUEST has been working with the family of Kevin Clarke since his death. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Cyrilia Davies Knight and Ben Curtis of Saunders Law and Professor Leslie Thomas QC and Ifeanyi Odogwu of Garden Court Chambers. The INQUEST caseworker is Anita Sharma.

The other interested persons represented at the inquest are the London Ambulance Service, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the Jigsaw Project, the Metropolitan Police Service, nine police officers, and the Independent Office of Police Conduct.

In October 2017 the landmark Independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody by Dame Elish Angiolini QC was published. Commissioned by Theresa May when she was home secretary, the review’s recommendations included tackling discrimination, through recognition of the disproportionate number of deaths of people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups following restraint and the role of institutional racism, both within IPCC (now the IOPC) investigations and police training.

Black people are subject to 16% of use of force by police, despite comprising 3% of the population (Home Office data on use of force, April 2018 to March 2019). Analysis of available data by INQUEST shows: the proportion of deaths in police custody of people from Black and Minority Ethnic groups where restraint is a feature is over two times greater than in other deaths in custody. More information on race and deaths in custody is available here.