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Kingsley Burrell: Full inquest may take three years

DEATH: Kingsley Burrell died in hospital, after being taken by police

SO MANY questions into how Kingsley Burrell died in hospital, after being taken there by police, still remain unanswered more than 110 days after his death.

At the fourth inquest hearing into 29-year-old Kingsley’s death on March 31, coroner Aidan Cotter stressed that he needed information from those who had witnessed what happened in the four days leading up to his death.

Kingsley’s family say he called West Midlands Police for help on March 27 after he became anxious about being intimidated while out walking in Birmingham with his five-year-old son.

Officers who responded to the call admitted him to the Mary Seacole mental health unit, despite his family saying he had no history of mental illness. Three days later they were called to the unit and transferred him to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is currently carrying out its own investigation and so far nearly 80 witness statements have been taken from medical staff, ambulance crews and members of the public. CCTV footage from four locations is also being studied.

Mr Cotter said up to 32 police officers may yet be interviewed. He said: “There is currently no evidence of criminal behaviour or misconduct on the part of any officer that would justify criminal proceedings.”

But he added that he needed to find the answers to several questions: why was Kingsley detained by police, what force was used and why? What happened to him at the Mary Seacole unit? Why were police asked to attend there and why were they involved in transferring him to hospital?

He said: “I want to know about Mr Burrell’s physical health. Did anything unusual happen to him that may give a clue to his death, but I also need to know about his mental health. The more information I have, the better the inquest.”

Mr Cotter said he was prepared to release Kingsley’s body for burial if no-one raised any objections within the next week.

And he warned Kingsley’s family that a full inquest may not be held for at least another three years to allow full reports to be completed.

In the meantime, Matt Ridley, an investigator with the IPCC agreed to produce at interim report for the next inquest hearing date set for September 7.

Earlier this month more than 1,000 people took to the streets of Birmingham in a march for justice over Kingsley’s death. In April his family and supporters joined several thousand people in London protesting over the death in custody of reggae star Smiley Culture, who is alleged to have stabbed himself while being questioned by police at his Surrey home in March this year.

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