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Rigg family backs anti-torture expert's role in death probe

REACTION:Sean Rigg's family

FAMILY MEMBERS of black musician Sean Rigg have welcomed news that a former United Nations anti-torture expert will be leading an external review of how police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), handled its investigation into his custody death.

The review will be led by Dr. Silvia Casale, a recent president of the European and UN committees for the prevention of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

Sean died at Brixton Police station in south London in August 2008 after being arrested and restrained by officers.

Marcia Rigg-Samuel, Sean's sister said: “We welcome the appointment of the Casale review panel so the review into the woeful IPCC investigation can finally get under way.”

Deborah Coles, co-director of campaign group INQUEST, added: “The external review of the IPCC investigation presents a unique opportunity to critically examine the way the IPCC approaches investigations into contentious deaths. Too often these investigations have revealed systemic failings in the IPCC approach and have resulted in a lack of family and public confidence.”


They also welcomed news that recommendations from Sean’s inquest coroner Dr. Andrew Harris have been sent to government ministers.

His recommendations include looking at restraint and other key issues such as improving how officers handle people with mental health problems and improving joint protocols between health and police officials.

Rigg-Samuel said: "We’re very pleased that the coroner has made such wide-ranging recommendations. Sadly since Sean’s death there have been other people who are mentally unwell who have died at the hands of the police.

“It is essential that all the failings identified at Sean’s inquest are acted upon, crucially so that this does not happen to any more families."

Coles added: “We want to ensure that the report’s strong recommendations do not disappear into the ether as they are a valuable learning tool to safeguard lives in the future. The jury’s findings and the coroner’s recommendations need to be disseminated to all police forces and mental health agencies across the country for their consideration and action.

“It is crucial that Ministers review the coroner’s report so that the lessons are learned and changes made nationally: we now await assurances from the Home Secretary and Health Secretary that this will happen".

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