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Memorial planned for Julian Webster

NOT FORGOTTEN: Julian Webster

A SPECIAL memorial day is being held to celebrate the life of 24-year-old Julian Webster who died after reportedly being restrained by bouncers outside a bar in Manchester April 2009.

The three-tier event today (May 18) is being organised by Julian’s parents - Sonia and Neville Webster and Maxie Hayles, former chair of the Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU).

Hayles, who has supported the Webster family for the past four years in their campaign for justice, said: “It’s important that a young man like Julian should never be forgotten and this is why we are holding this special day. He was a very fit young man who lost his life in mysterious circumstances and no-one has yet been held to account for his death. The jury at Julian’s inquest a year ago returned a damning narrative verdict.”

The memorial day will start with a service at Cannon Street Memorial Baptist Church at 1pm, to which the public is welcome. Keynote speaker will be Bishop Dr Joe Aldred. After the service family and friends will go to Handsworth Cemetery to lay a headstone at Julian’s grave.

In the evening there will be a gala celebration and dinner to honour Julian’s life at The Cap Centre, Windmill Lane, Smethwick. There will be poetry, music and entertainment.

Speakers will include community activist Desmond Jaddoo, Councillor Paulette Hamilton and Honorary Alderman Philip Murphy.

Hayles, who is chairing and co-ordinating the event, said: “Our aim it to take this to another level in the years ahead. We intend to organise an annual memorial lecture which we would like to be held at the University of Birmingham’s new Centre for Research in Race and Education that was opened by Doreen Lawrence earlier this year. We also plan to launch a trust fund in Julian’s name to support young people. This is our vision to keep Julian’s memory alive – he is gone but not forgotten.”

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Meanwhile, Julian’s family say they feel betrayed by the British justice system four years on and are now calling for a judicial review.

Last May, a jury at an inquest in Manchester, ruled that the restraint by bouncers, one of whom held Julian in a chin-lock, played a ‘significant role’ in his death.

Julian was held by security staff outside the Pitcher & Piano in Deansgate Locks when he returned just after closing time to look for his mobile phone

But the inquest was also told that although two post mortem examinations revealed an undiagnosed heart condition, the actual cause of his death was inconclusive.

The inquest jury ruled that although the effects of restraint played a significant role in Julian’s death, his heart condition made him more vulnerable.

Julian’s family, however, remain sceptical of this, explaining that he was super fit and enjoyed doing a lot of sport. Ironically, he had just completed a security training course just two weeks before his death.

Coroner Nigel Meadows did not leave a verdict of unlawful killing open to the jury, but their decision to highlight the role of the restraint in Julian’s death was welcomed by the Webster family.

In May 2010, his family and supporters staged a rally outside Manchester’s Crown Prosecution (CPS) offices demanding charges be brought in the case.

Two men had earlier been arrested on suspicion of murder and remained on police bail until January 2010.

Mum Sonia, who lives in Edgbaston, Birmingham, said: “We continue to feel completely betrayed by the British judicial system, so therefore we still have no closure over Julian’s death. Someone is responsible for his death and I want justice for him.”

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