4 October 2019

Before HM Senior Coroner Mary Hassell
St Pancras Coroner’s Court

Opens 10am 7 October 2019
Expected to last two days

Dexter Bristol, 58, died on 29 March 2018 after collapsing on the street in London. In the 18 months prior to his death, Dexter’s family say he was placed under unbearable stress by the Home Office as he was required to prove his settled status, despite residing in the UK for 50 years and being a member of the Windrush Generation. The second inquest into his death, after the original inquest findings were quashed, opens on Monday.

Dexter came to the UK from Grenada in 1968 aged 8 and lived in London thereafter. His family describe him as very quiet and reserved.

In late 2016 he was told he was unable to start the job he had been offered, because he did not have an official Right to Work document to prove his settled status in the UK. The ‘hostile environment’ policies, introduced by the then Home Secretary Theresa May, placed a high burden on applicants to provide several pieces of documentary evidence in respect of every year of continuous residence.

Dexter was prohibited from obtaining work, and feared losing his benefits, council housing, and access to secondary medical care and being deported. His attempts over 18 months to prove his settled status in the UK placed him under significant stress. At the time of his death he had still been unable to provide the required documentation.

The first inquest into Dexter’s death was quashed after the family sought a judicial review of the original coroner’s conduct and conclusion. The coroner had refused to hear the evidence of an independent cardiologist on the role that the stress in proving his settled status had played on Dexter experiencing cardiac arrest. The coroner did not oppose the challenge, resulting in a fresh inquest.

The family hope this inquest will fully and fearlessly explore the links between the stress Dexter was under as a result of his immigration status, and the impact of the Home Office’s hostile environment policies on Dexter’s health.



For more information contact INQUEST communications team on 020 7263 1111 or [email protected]; [email protected]

A photo of Dexter is available upon request.

The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Irène Nembhard of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors and Adam Straw of Doughty Street Chambers.

The other Interested Persons represented at the inquest are the Home Office.

Dexter’s mother was told by the Legal Aid Agency that she was not eligible for funding for legal representation at the inquest because Dexter’s death was not directly caused by a Government official, but by a Government policy. She launched a CrowdJustice campaign to fund her representation.

Windrush migrants and the Hostile Environment

  • Windrush migrants’ are a group of long-term residents in the UK who came to this country before 1973, most of whom are deemed by law to have settled status
  • The government’s ‘hostile environment’ immigration policies, introduced by the Home Office in 2013 make it difficult or impossible for many Windrush migrants to obtain official proof that they have settled status.
  • There are up to 57,000 people who were born in Commonwealth countries and have lived in the UK since 1971 or before, but who do not hold UK passports.


Other relevant cases

  • Sarah O’Connor moved to the UK aged six and died aged 57 in 2018. In the years prior to her death she was placed under stress to prove she was in the UK legally. She lost her job where she had worked for 16 years and as was facing bankruptcy.