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Labour MP: Kingsley Burrell family has been 'traumatised'

EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED: Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Ladywood

A BIRMINGHAM MP is calling for a major overhaul of the way deaths in police custody are investigated following the tragic case of Kingsley Burrell who died more than three years ago following contact with police and NHS staff.

Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Ladywood secured a debate in Westminster to highlight the plight of Kingsley’s family who she says have been left “completely bewildered” by the chaotic way in which investigations into his death have been carried out.

She is calling for a national protocol into the way deaths in police custody are examined to prevent families like the Burrells being forced to navigate this chaotic system on their own.

Kingsley, a 29-year-old trainee security guard, died three days after dialling 999 for police help because he felt he was about to be attacked by a gang while he was out walking with his five-year-old son in Birmingham.

But when officers arrived, he was detained under the Mental Health Act and then transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he died in March 2011.

In June, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute four police officers and six NHS staff who were involved in treating or caring for Kingsley in the days and hours before he died.

Mahmood called the decision of the CPS “extremely disappointing” but said she hoped it might revisit this decision once a three-week inquest into Kingsley’s death is held next February – four years after his death.

She said: “This case highlights the need for the Government to set out a clear timetable for some action in these situations. There needs to be a proper national protocol drawn up so that families, already grieving from the death of a loved one, are not left to struggle alone in their quest for answers.

SEEKING JUSTICE: Kadisha Brown-Burrell with Maxie Hayles at a press conference earlier this year

“The family of Kingsley is very strong and determined, but they have been left feeling very frustrated and hurt by what has gone on. I have spoken to Kingsley’s mother many times and she has found the whole process very traumatic. This is simply not right.”

Kingsley’s sister Kadisha Brown-Burrell has led the family’s fight for justice, which has included several peaceful protests both in London and Birmingham, including more recently monthly protests outside the CPS buildings in Birmingham.

She told The Voice: “My brother was a normal person from the community with no history of mental illness, yet he ends up being detained under the Mental Health Act and dies in hospital. We need to know the truth.”

She said the family felt optimistic that an independent jury would hear the evidence at the inquest next year.

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