28 February 2019

Metropolitan Police Misconduct Hearing
Hearing room, 14th Floor, Empress State
Building, Lillie Road, SW6
Opens 10am

A police misconduct panel has spent six weeks considering allegations of gross misconduct against five police officers in relation to the death of Sean Rigg. The conclusion of the panel is expected to be announced tomorrow morning (Friday 1 March), after 10am.   

Sean, aged 40, was experiencing mental ill health at the time of his arrest and was restrained by Metropolitan Police Officers. He died at Brixton police station on 21 August 2008. For more background details of the case, see notes.

Though some charges have been dropped during the course of the hearing, officers still face gross misconduct charges relating to the method of restraint, as well as for the failure to identify and treat Sean as a person with mental ill health.

Sean’s family will be present at the hearing and are expected to make a statement at the conclusion.


For further information, please contact Lucy McKay on 020 7263 1111 or email.

Members of the media who wish to attend must register in advance. The public gallery has limited capacity and may be fully booked. Register through Metropolitan Police booking system.

Statements will be made outside the Empress State Building following the conclusion.

See the full Metropolitan Police Notice of Misconduct Hearing for information: Hearing for PC Andrew Birks, PC Richard Glasson, PC Matthew Forward, PC Mark Harratt and PS Paul White. Directed by the IOPC to be held in public, in respect of 5 officers arising from the death of Sean Rigg.

On 1 February, abuse of process arguments put forward by the officers were dismissed by the panel.

INQUEST has been working with the family of Sean Rigg since his death. The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Daniel Machover and Helen Stone of Hickman and Rose Solicitors, Leslie Thomas QC and Tom Stoate of Garden Court Chambers, Jude Bunting of Doughty Street Chambers, and Alison Macdonald QC of Matrix Chambers.


2008-2012: Sean’s death and inquest

  • On 21 August 2008, Sean Rigg died of a cardiac arrest following restraint in the prone position, which was deemed ‘unnecessary’ and ‘unsuitable’ by an inquest jury in in 2012. Sean had been a patient of South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLAM), who was also criticised. Full inquest conclusions details (August 2012) here. Full family response here.
  • The Coroner in November 2012 issued a highly critical Prevention of Future Deaths report (known at the time as Rule 43) which identified critical learning for the mental health care and police services involved, highlighting ongoing concerns. Full info here.

2012-2013: The ‘Casale Review’, the reopening of IPCC investigations

  • Following the inquest the IPCC commissioned an independent external review of its investigation into Sean’s death. The review, known as the Casale Review, was published in May 2013 and is available here. It was highly critical of the original investigation, and led to an action plan for change and improvements by the IPCC. INQUEST and the family welcomed the report here.
  • Following this, in December 2013 the IPCC decided to reopen their investigation into Sean’s death. Details here.

2016: First CPS decisions

  • In 2016, Sergeant Paul White was on trial for perjury, with CCTV evidence in court suggesting that White had detailed a false version of events on the night that Sean died. On 8 November 2016, the jury found White ‘not guilty’ of perjury. Detailed here.
  • On 15 November 2016, the CPS announced they would not bring further criminal charges against any of the officers involved, finding there was insufficient evidence. Detailed here.

2017: Victims Right to Review and Angiolini review

2018: Misconduct charges directed and ten year anniversary

  • In April 2018 the IOPC announced that they had directed gross misconduct charges.
  • Also in April, an unprecedented second attempt by PC Andrew Birks to challenge a decision to block his resignation was successful, after the High Court ordered the Met Commissioner to reconsider a decision made in July 2017 to continue Birks’ suspension, pending decisions on disciplinary action. This was the result of a second judicial review (heard in February), after his attempt at resignation was initially blocked in 2014.
  • Prior to the 10 year anniversary of Sean’s death in August 2018, Marcia Rigg  wrote an INQUEST blog, 'Almost ten years fighting for justice', describing her experiences since.