Monday, 9 May 2011

9th May 2011 - Family response to release of IPCC reports


From the outset of the investigation into Ian Tomlinson’s death, his family expressed concerns about the use and flow of information within the Metropolitan (MPS) and City of London Police (CoLP). The family believes that a report published today by the IPCC shows that their concerns were well founded.

Before the investigation was taken over by the IPCC on 8th April 2009 the CoLP were responsible for the investigation. Two senior officers from CoLP were appointed to head the investigation and a Detective Inspector at the MPS was appointed to be their single point of contact in the Met.

The report published today by the IPCC, confirms that the MPS Detective Inspector, misled two of the pathologists who examined Ian Tomlinson’s body. He wrongly informed the pathologists that Mr. Tomlinson had fallen to the ground in a separate incident minutes before he was struck and pushed by PC Harwood in Royal Exchange Passage.

The IPCC observed that as a result of being misled by the DI, one of the pathologists wrote in his medical report that the fall (which never happened) could have caused or started the fatal internal bleeding.

In a letter dated 11 March 2011 to a Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the MPS, the IPCC state that there is ‘a total lack of evidence’ for the fall reported by the DI. The letter states:

“There is no evidence of any kind to suggest that Ian Tomlinson fell in front of a van. No media footage portrays a fall, it was not said in any Gold Group meeting, no investigator workbook documents that there was a fall, there is no email traffic revealing such a view and there is no witness evidence that he fell in front of a van.”

The IPCC have therefore found that the DI from the MPS had recklessly provided information to the pathologists and that he now has a case to answer in respect of misconduct.

New complaints about the CoLP investigators

Ian Tomlinson’s family believes that the CoLP officers who headed the investigation into his death also have a case to answer for misconduct. They have notified the IPCC of their complaints.

The inquest heard that MPS officers based in Hammersmith and Fulham were in Royal Exchange Passage and witnessed force being used on Mr Tomlinson. The officers became aware of the importance of this information after Mr Tomlinson’s death on 2nd April. On 3rd April 2009 an MPS officer informed the CoLP investigators of this new evidence. The CoLP investigators appear to have failed to pass this crucial information on to the pathologist, the coroner, the IPCC or the family until later in the investigation. The family had to wait for the video footage to be released four days later on 7th April before they knew that there had been police contact with Ian Tomlinson.

The IPCC have acknowledged that a further investigation is now required by them and have said today that they will investigate the fact that:

“On 3rdApril 2009 some officers were aware of physical contact between police and Ian Tomlinson but this information was not passed on to the family, the coroner or IPCC”.

Julia Tomlinson today said that the family was vulnerable after Ian’s death and that they found it hard to know who to trust. Julia has a copy of the statement which a CoLP officer read to her over the phone on 4th April 2009, the statement says:

“The IPCC has completed the assessment of the death of Ian Tomlinson who died near to the G20 protests on Wednesday 1st April 2009. The IPCC commissioner for London Deborah Glass said ‘Our independent investigations have looked at CCTV of the incident, examined statements and police records and spoken to independent witnesses. Based on the information at this stage the IPCC are satisfied that there is no evidence that the actions of those officers present in Cornhill contributed in any way to the sudden and untimely death of an innocent bystander. Just before 7.30pm on the 1st April 2009 Mr Tomlinson was seen by a number of witnesses in Cornhill near to the Bank of England, where some of the protests were taking place.

Witnesses describe a number of people dressed entirely in black who appeared to be running through the protesters towards the police cordons before turning and running away from the police line and running back up Cornhill.

It was during this charge and retreat that Mr Tomlinson has seemed to have been caught up in the crowds and a number of people describe seeing him ‘collapse and fall to the ground’.

In an immediate response a number of police officers including two medics moved toward where Mr Tomlinson lay and formed a cordon around the victim facing a group of protesters whilst the medics gave first aid.

A number of witnesses describe cans and bottle being thrown in the direction of the police cordon whilst it was protecting Mr Tomlinson and the medics. In an effort to move the medics away from the immediate danger the medics moved Mr Tomlinson on a stretcher some 50m back behind the police cordon. Mr Tomlinson was then taken to hospital by ambulance but was pronounced dead on arrival.

A post-mortem examination carried out last night [by Dr Patel] showed that Mr Tomlinson died as a result of a heart attack. He had no other injuries that would have contributed to his death.

The City of London Police will continue with their investigation into the death of Mr Tomlinson. If during the course of the investigation further information comes to light that causes concern then the matter will be referred back to the IPCC”.

Julia says “I cried after the statement was read to me. Now I feel that I was misled. The day after the City of London Police investigators received information from the Met that police witnesses had seen Ian struck by a police officer; a City officer read this statement to me. It made me believe that the protesters were somehow responsible for Ian’s death. This is wrong and I do feel angry that I was misled like this””.

Paul King, Ian’s stepson said: “from the statement that was read to my mum by the City of London Police officer, it looks like the investigation into Ian’s death was all over on the 4th April despite the evidence from the Met police officers who saw the push. If that video footage hadn’t come out then the truth might never have come out, even Deborah Glass says this in her statement today”.

Jules Carey of Tuckers Solicitors stated that “In cases where the state is investigating whether its officers may have killed a person, the police are required to carry out a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation to high standards. Today’s IPCC report suggests that the Detective Inspector from the MPS fell short of the required standard. Mr Tomlinson’s family has now asked the IPCC to investigate if the same is true of the lead investigators from City of London Police”.


Background information:

The IPCC's press release (dated 9th May 2011) can be found here

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