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Kingsley Burrell's family vows to continue fight

LAID TO REST: Kingsley Burrell

FAMILY MEMBERS of Kingsley Burrell, who died following police contact last March, have said they have just the “beginning of closure” after getting to bury him 18 months after he died.

The father-of-two, who died on March 30, 2011 just days after contact with West Midlands polie officers, was finally laid to rest on Friday (August 31) after a funeral service at the Hampstead Road Baptist Church in Handsworth, Birmingham.

He was taken to the church in a silver carriage drawn by three white horses and more than 200 mourners, including well known campaigners and other families who lost loved ones in custody, came out to pay their last respects and support Kingsley’s family.

Kingsley’s sister Kadisha Brown-Burrell said the family was seeing the beginning of closure only because they had been finally able to bury him.

They had waited 18 months for his body to be released while investigations into his death continued.

She said: “We still have a long fight ahead for justice,” especially as they are still waiting for an inquest into Kingsley’s death.

Brown-Burrell told The Voice last week her brother’s body was only released by the state on August 24, leaving less than seven days for the family to make the funeral arrangements.

FUNERAL: Mourners at Kingsley's funeral

Burrell, a 29-year-old trainee security guard, died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, four days after being arrested by police.

His family said he dialled 999 for help because he was suffering intimidation while out walking with his five-year-old son.

However, officers detained him under the Mental Health Act. He was later admitted to the Mary Seacole Mental Health Unit before being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth.

Since then family members, who say Kingsley had no history of mental health problems, have been searching for answers to his death.
They also allege he had unexplained injuries when he died.

Last month, a march organised by the now closed Birmingham Racial Attacks Monitoring Unit (BRAMU), was held in Birmingham.

More than 300 people attended, including family members who said they plan to still seek answers.

“I want to know how my son, a fit young man in his prime with no history of mental illness, was taken off the street, sectioned and died in custody three days later,” Kingsley’s mother Janet Brown said during the rally.

CALL FOR ANSWERS: Last month's March for Justice in Birmingham

She added:“It is now up to the NHS and West Midlands Police to provide us the family and community with answers.”

The police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is still investigating Burrell’s death.

West Midlands Police and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust have previously said they will not comment on Burrell’s death while investigations are ongoing.

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