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Kingsley Burrell inquest: 'A naughty policeman hit daddy'

INQUEST: Kingsley Burrell, a 29-year-old trainee security guard, died following contact with police and NHS staff in 2011

AN INQUEST into the death of Kingsley Burrell, who died following contact with police in March 2011, heard how his four-year-old son told his family “a naughty black policeman hit daddy in the back of the ambulance.”

The youngster was with his 29-year-old father when he was taken by ambulance to a Birmingham mental health unit. Kingsley had called 999 for help because he feared he was about to be shot as he visited a local shop with his little boy.

He was taken to the Oleaster unit on March 27, 2011, and sectioned under the Mental Health Act, but died four days later at the Queen Elizabeth (QE) Hospital when his life support machine was switched off.

Outlining the case, senior coroner Louise Hunt told how Kingsley was taken to Oleaster by ambulance where there was a struggle and as a result, he was restrained by police.

Kingsley was then transferred from the Oleaster to a second mental health unit – Mary Seacole – on March 30 where he became agitated and staff called police. There was a second struggle during which Kingsley received an eye injury, so he was taken to the QE’s A&E.

During the transfer he was restrained while lying on a stretcher. The coroner said a covering was placed on his head. Shortly after this staff became concerned about his breathing and he went into cardiac arrest. He died the following day.

Chantelle Graham, who was Kingsley’s partner, told how her son had been “telling anyone who would listen, even people at school” about the officer in the ambulance.

Kingsley’s sister Kadisha Brown-Burrell, who has led the family’s tireless campaign for justice since her brother’s death four years ago, was the first witness to take the oath at the resumed inquest, which is due to take six weeks.

Before entering court she told The Voice: “Today means the world to us. We have waited four years for this day and we will have a verdict in six weeks’ time.”

She said Kingsley was “a calm and collected outgoing friendly person” with no history of mental illness.

In the days before his death, he had been trying to sort out a paternity issue with a former partner and had been a bit upset because she was refusing to take a DNA test concerning Kingsley’s third child.

SEEKING JUSTICE: Kadisha Brown-Burrell, far right, with her mum Janet, centre, and sister Lorraine

Kadisha said when the family visited her brother at the Mary Seacole unit where he had been sectioned, he was walking very stiffly and could not move his head, body and shoulders properly. He had deep cuff marks around his hands.

She said: “He had a big lump on his forehead and I said to Chantelle ‘take pictures.’ Kingsley could not move his shoulders or his hands. He was very upset and was asking why he had been put in the unit when he had simply called police for help.

“Kingsley said he felt that if he had not been with his son in the shop he would have been killed.”

Mr Hugh Davies, who is representing four West Midlands police officers, questioned Kadisha about her original statement where she said her brother had told her that officers had injected him “in his brain.”

He said: “Do you believe that police would give injections?” to which she replied “I am told the police cannot give injections, but I believed him and there was no CCTV footage.”

Graham, who told the inquest that Kingsley’s children ‘were his life’, said Kingsley also told her he had been injected in the head by an officer when she went to visit him at Mary Seacole.

She said a mental health worker told her that Kingsley had gone berserk in the back of the ambulance and started banging Kayden’s head off the side of the vehicle, which was why officers had to restrain him.

The jury of seven men and four women were played a recording of the 999 call made by a distressed Kingsley where he is heard saying: ‘Firearms here - quickly, quickly. I’m scared.”

Edited CCTV footage was also shown of Kingsley on his mobile with his son in the shop. At times Kingsley is seen gesticulating urgently and also making praying gestures.

A team of advocates will represent a number of organisations including Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Service, West Midlands Police, individual medical staff and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The inquest is expected to continue until May 19.

Earlier, Kingsley Burrell’s family, campaigners and legal teams had all expressed concern about the cramped conditions at Birmingham Coroner’s Court, but pleas for a larger venue were not granted.

The inquest continues.

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