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Kingsley Burrell inquest: Larger venue plea refused

REFUSED: A plea for a larger venue to host inquest of trainee security guard Kingsley Burrell has been refused

CALLS FOR the inquest of Kingsley Burrell to be held in a larger venue next month have been turned down by Birmingham Coroner’s Court.

The highly-publicised case of trainee security guard Burrell, who died in March 2011 following contact with police and NHS staff, is likely to attract a lot of interest from the public and media attention once a six-week inquest begins on April 7.

Legal teams and supporters of the Burrell family have both asked if the lengthy and complex hearing could be held in either a local hotel or conference centre.

But Birmingham Coroner’s Court is refusing to change its cramped venue in Newton Street in the heart of the city centre.

A spokesperson told The Voice: “We will be guided by Kingsley’s family as their wishes are paramount. We will be trying to do the very, very best for them during this inquest.”

When asked if they would be using an alternative venue, they said no, adding: “All these questions have already been dealt with in court.”

But the Justice for Kingsley Burrell Campaign, led by Maxie Hayles and Desmond Jaddoo, fears many people who want to see the inquest conducted in an open and transparent manner will not be allowed to do so because of the constraints on space.

Jaddoo said: “It is our understanding that the matter of costs has arisen, however, why is it an issue when the family has had to wait four years for answers? They have always had a lot of public support, so owing to the size of the venue many of their supporters may find themselves excluded from this all-important public debate.

FAMILY: Kingsley Burrell’s sister Kadisha Brown-Burrell, left, his mother Janet Brown and sister Lorraine Sang outside Birmingham Coroner’s Court last November.

“At the last hearing I attended regarding Kingsley’s inquest, those attending were being issued with numbered entry tickets which allowed in only 30 people. Once that courtroom is filled with a jury and legal teams there will be virtually no room left for the public.”

“We have already called upon the coroner to do what is right and seek a larger venue – even at a city hotel, or other suitable venue – to ensure that this inquest is conducted in an open and transparent manner with access for all parties who collectively seek answers and justice for Kinsgley Burrell.”

At a pre-inquest hearing in November last year, several of the legal teams had echoed these concerns, with one solicitor suggesting to Coroner Louise Hunt that a conference centre should be used to cope with the expected numbers.

The 29-year-old father of three died at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) four days after dialling 999 for police help, saying he was being harassed by a gang while out walking in an Edgbaston street with his young son.

He was detained under the Mental Health Act at the Mary Seacole mental health unit in Winson Green, before being transferred to the QE, where he died four days later.

Nine months ago the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ruled there was “insufficient evidence” to charge 12 people with Kingsley’s death. They included four West Midlands Police officers, two West Midland Ambulance staff, three nurses and three doctors.

Kingsley’s family, including his mother Janet Brown and his sisters Kadisha Brown-Burrell and Lorraine Sang said at last November’s hearing they were still hopeful that the outcome of next month’s inquest could yet lead to a criminal conviction.

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