Black Deaths in Custody

Black Deaths in Custody


Written by: Harmit Athwal

Deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody since 1978. We list below those deaths of black and minority ethnic individuals which have taken place in prison, police or hospital custody and which have given rise to concern because of unexplained or mysterious circumstances surrounding those deaths and / or allegations of maltreatment, dereliction of duty or brutality.

Each entry in this list contains the following details: Name, Age, Date of death, Category code , Circumstances surrounding death, Inquest verdict. Catgeory codes: Po: Police; Pr: Prisons, Young Offenders Institutes, Remand Centres; Ps: Psychiatric Hospitals.

  • Michael Ferreira, 19, 10/12/78, Po, Died in Stoke Newington police station after being stabbed in a racist attack, Inquest verdict unknown
  • S. Singh Grewal, 40, 02/08/79, Po, Died in Southall police station, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Henry Floyd, 26, 23/08/79, Po, Found hanged in cell of West End Central police station, Suicide
  • John Eshiett, 26, 24/10/79, Pr, Died in Brixton prison while awaiting trial, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Richard Campbell, 19, 31/03/80, Pr, Died of de-hydration after being force fed and large quantities of drugs in Ashford remand centre, Death by self neglect because of inadequate medical facilities
  • Leroy Gordon, 20, August 80, Po, Died in Pershore police station after crowd suspecting him of robbery-sat on him, Asphyxiation due to compression of the neck
  • Winston Rose, 27, 13/07/81, Po, Died in police van after being restrained by police officers taking him to psychiatric hospital, Unlawful killing at the hands of the police
  • Shohik Meah, 43, 06/11/81, Po, Died in Thornhill Road police station – Birmingham, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Paul Worrell, 21, 12/01/82, Pr, A suicide risk; was found hanged in Brixton prison after obtaining the materials to kill himself, Open verdict
  • Changa Singh, 60, 25/03/82, Po, Died of alcoholic poisoning in Cathay Park police station, Misadventure
  • Franklyn Lee, 20, September 1982, Po, According to the police died of injuries sustained during a burglary, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Simeon Collins, 17, 10/12/82, Po, Died of acute injuries to liver and spleen day after being arrested by City Road police, Accidental death
  • Colin Roach, Age unknown, 12/01/83, Po, Died of gunshot wound sustained while he was in Stoke Newington police station, Suicide
  • James Ruddock, 44, 14/02/83, Po, Died after being denied treatment for diabetes and sickle cell for 12 hours in Kensington police station, Natural causes attributed to self neglect
  • Nicholas Ofusu, 31, 06/05/83, Po, Death by misadventure
  • Mathew Paul, 19, 06/05/83, Po, Found hanged in Leman Street police station, Suicide due to lack of care
  • Leslie George Singh, Age unknown, 06/12/83, Pr, Fell from 4th floor of Hammersmith hospital after being transferred from Wormwood Scrubs, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Michael Dean Martin, Age unknown, 06/07/84, ?, ?, Accidental death aggravated by lack of care
  • Curtis Marsh, 27, 21/10/84, Pr, A suicide risk who hanged himself inside Brixton prison, Suicide
  • Chittaranjan Joshi, Age unknown, 02/01/85, Pr, Found hanged in his cell while on remand in Pentonville, Suicide
  • Harold Roberts, Age unknown, 11/03/85, Ps, Suicide
  • James Hall, Age unknown, 30/03/85, Po, Inquest verdict unknown
  • John Mikkelson, 34, 15/07/85, Po, Unlawful killing; after police appeal verdict changed to death by misadventure
  • Cynthia Jarrett, Age unknown, 06/10/85, Po, Accidental death
  • Keith Hicks, 34, 1986, Pr, A schizophrenic epileptic who died in Brixton prison, Misadventure
  • Anthony Lloyd Powell, 18, February 1986, Ps, A schizophrenic, died after being given an injection of modecate, Open verdict
  • Stephen Bogle, 27, 12/08/86, Po, Natural causes aggravated by lack of care
  • Donald Chambers, 29, 11/09/86, Ps, Death by misadventure
  • Anwar Kureshi, Age unknown, 06/10/86, Pr, An obvious suicide risk – managed to hang himself in Brixton prison while on remand, Suicide
  • Caiphas Lemard, Age unknown, 08/10/86, Po, Non-dependent drug abuse aggravated by lack of care
  • Akhtar Moghul, 47, 27/01/87, Pr, Died in Holloway prison while on remand – spoke no English and was allegedly denied medical treatment for a heart condition, Natural causes aggravated by lack of care
  • Clinton McCurbin, Age unknown, 20/02/87, Po, Death by misadventure
  • Ahmed Katangole, 24, 23/03/87, Pr, A suicide risk was found hanged in his cell at Pentonville, Suicide aggravated by official indifference and lack of care
  • Jasbir Singh Rai, 32, 23/04/87, Pr, Found hanged in Wakefield prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Nenneh Jalloh, Age unknown, 24/04/87, Po, Death by misadventure
  • Mohammed Parkit, 50, 01/05/87, Po, Open verdict
  • Anachu Osita, 28, 18/05/87, Pr, Natural causes aggravated by lack of care
  • Tunay Hassan, 25, 26/06/87, Po, Drug dependency aggravated by lack of care
  • John Ryan, 24, July 1987, Pr, Died in Winson Green hospital, 3 days after being admitted suffering from dehydration, had been seen drinking his own urine, Death by lack of care
  • Terence Brown, 35, August 1987, Ps, Open verdict
  • Anthony Mahony, 24, 19/08/87, Pr, Died almost naked in a strip cell in Brixton prison; had a history of mental illness, Natural causes aggravated by lack of care
  • Mark Ventour, Age unknown, 24/09/87, Po, Asphyxia caused by chewing gum in throat
  • Joseph Palombella, 40, October 1987, Po, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Femi Adelaja, 36, February 19, Pr, Died of a heart condition in a cell at Old Bailey; was denied treatment for sarcoidosis of the heart, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Samuel Carew, 22, 05/02/88, Pr, Killed himself in Brixton prison’s hospital wing, Suicide
  • Armando Belonia, Age unknown, 16/03/88, Pr, Died of pneumonia in locked hospital wing of Wandsworth prison, Natural causes aggravated by lack of care
  • Bahader Singh, 26, 13/05/88, Pr, Died in India hours after leaving Barlinnie jail where he had suffered physical and racial abuse, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Oakley Ramsey, 25, June 1988, Po, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Kelroy Briscoe, 32, 20/06/88, Pr, Hanged himself in Wormwood Scrubs, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Joseph Watts, 30, 23/08/88, Ps, Accidental death
  • Derek Buchanan, 19, 04/09/88, Po, Drowning
  • Sajjan Atwal, 36, 04/09/88, Pr, Hanged himself in Winson Green; was a suicide risk and had made other attempts on his life, Lack of care – verdict was quashed and a new verdict recorded of suicide due to lack of care
  • Martin Richmond, 30, 04/12/88, Pr, Found hanged in Brixton prison, Open verdict
  • Wayne Tombison, Age unknown, December 88, Pr, Found hanged in Wandsworth prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • David ‘Duke’ Daley, 44, February 1989, Po, Open verdict
  • Nicholas Bramble, 17, March 1989, Po, Accidental death
  • Vincent Graham, 40, July 1989, Po, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Jamie Stewart, 22, 02/07/89, Po, Death by misadventure due to excessive overdose of cocaine
  • Edwin Carr, 39, 12/07/89, Po, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Mr Romany, Age unknown, October 1989, Pr, Found dead in Chanings Wood prison; other prisoners said his screaming for a day and a night had been ignored, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Siho Iyugiven, 27, 05/10/89, Pr, Kurdish asylum seeker set himself alight in Harmondsworth detention centre after being refused asylum, Misadventure
  • Germain Alexander, Age unknown, 06/12/89, Pr, Died after being removed to strip cell in Brixton; had bruising all over his body, Natural causes aggravated by lack of care
  • Kimpua Nsimba, 24, 15/06/90, Pr, Zairean asylum-seeker found hanged in Harmondsworth detention centre; no-one had spoken to him in over 4 days, Suicide
  • Oliver Pryce, 30, 24/07/90, Po, Unlawful killing
  • Aslam Khan, 29, 12/10/90, Pr, Hanged himself while on remand in Brixton, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Edwin Robinson, 28, 30/11/90, Pr, A suicide risk with a psychotic illness hanged himself in Brixton prison, Killed himself because of lack of care
  • Delroy McKnight, 29, 19/01/91, Pr, Cut his own throat with glass from cell window and bled to death in Wandsworth prison, Killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed and death was contributed to by lack of care
  • Vandana Patel, 21, 29/04/91, Po, Died after being stabbed in DVU in Stoke Newington police station, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Kwaku Ohene, 30, 13/06/91, Pr, Had mental problems and committed suicide in hospital wing of Swaleside, Death aggravated by lack of care
  • Ian Gordon, 24, 12/08/91, Po, Psychiatric patient shot dead by Telford police, Lawful killing
  • Orville Blackwood, 31, 28/08/91, Ps, Died after being given injection of ‘calming’ drugs in secure unit at Broadmoor, Accidental death; on appeal to High Court by Orville’s family, verdict quashed and a verdict of accidental death recorded again
  • Omasase Lumumba, 32, 08/10/91, Pr, Died of a ‘heart attack’ while being ‘controlled and restrained’ by 6 guards in Pentonville, Unlawfully killed using improper methods and excessive force in the process of control and restraint
  • Arthur Allison, 50, 1992, Po, Died four days after being arrested by Leicester police, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Melita Crawford, 24, 03/01/92, Pr, Had mental problems and was found dead while on remand at Risley, Misadventure
  • Mark Fletcher, 21, 08/01/92, Ps, Detained under the Mental Health act and died in All Saints psychiatric hospital after being given an injection in his spine, Cardiac arrest
  • Munir Yusef Mojothi, 26, June 1992, Ps, Died of overdose in Clifton hospital after being given 2 injections of droperidol, Lack of care
  • Jerome Scott, 27, 23/06/92, Ps, Collapsed and died on the way to hospital in a police van after being given two injections, Therapeutic misadventure
  • Errol Commock, 24, 03/07/92, Pr, A known suicide risk committed suicide in hospital wing of Winson Green, Suicide
  • James Segawa, 28, 28/08/92, Pr, HIV+ asylum-seeker died in Belmarsh after officials refused to believe he was ill, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Ian Francis, 28, 05/09/92, Pr, Died of blood poisoning twelve days after injuring himself at Send prison, Death by natural causes
  • Leon Patterson, 32, 21/11/92, Po, Died while on remand at Stockport police station, Unlawful killing verdict was overturned in 1994 and changed to ‘Misadventure to which neglect contributed’
  • Nadeem Younus, 21, 04/12/92, Pr, Died of an overdose in little Hay prison after obtaining paracetamol tablets from the hospital, Open verdict
  • Randhir Showpal, 43, 19/12/92, Po, Died in Norbury police station after being detained under the Mental Health Act, Misadventure
  • Warren Jones, 26, 01/01/93, Pr, Found hanged in Leicester prison, Suicide
  • Adejare Akinbiyi, 30, 10/03/93, Pr, Died after suffering a succession of severe asthma attacks in Belmarsh, Accidental death brought about by lack of care
  • Turan Pekoz, 43, 16/03/93, Pr, Died after setting himself alight in Quest House immigration centre (Croydon), Misadventure
  • Joy Gardner, 40, 01/08/93, Po, Died after being arrested by ‘specialist’ officers from the Extradition Unit of the Met; was gagged with 13 feet of tape, Inquest adjourned till trial of officers involved, officers later acquitted
  • Rupert Marshall, 29, 30/01/94, Ps, Died in Horton psychiatric hospital after being injected with an anti-psychotic drug, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Kwanele Siziba, 27, 27/04/94, Po, Fell 150 feet to her death, attempting to flee what she believed were immigration officials, Misadventure
  • Carl Owens, 22, 31/05/94, Pr, Died while on remand of a methadone OD in segregation unit of Brixton prison, Misadventure
  • O. Akinbobola, 24, 26/06/94, Pr, Found hanged in cell at Woodhill prison; had protested innocence and had gone on hunger strike, Suicide
  • Mark Harris, 31, 10/07/94, Po, Found hanged after arrested by Bristol police officers, Open verdict
  • Jonathan Weekes, Age unknown, 10/08/94, Ps, Died in Chase Farm hospital, Natural causes – pneumonia
  • Shkander Singh, 37, 19/09/94, Po, Died in Stewart Street police station (Glasgow); Had been heard shouting and crying in cell but was ignored, Heart Failure
  • Norman Manning, 26, 29/09/94, Pr, Stabbed to death by inmates in Long Lartin prison in November 1997, 41-year-old Frederick Low was convicted of Norman’s murder
  • Joseph Nnalue, 31, 23/10/94, Po, Died after falling from balcony in flat in Stockwell – police and immigration officials wee calling at his flat at the time, Accidental death
  • Tyrone Wilson, 34, 18/11/94, Po, Died 18 days after police were called to his flat in Ipswich, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Oluwashiji Lapite, 34, 16/12/94, Po, Died during a struggle with police officers from Stoke Newington police station, Unlawful Killing. In June 1998 the CPS reaffirmed its decision not to prosecute the officers involved.
  • Mark Holness, 28, 14/01/95, Pr, Found hanged in his cell at Whitemoor prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Lungile Simelane, 27, 06/05/95, Pr, Found hanged in her cell at Holloway prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Brian Douglas, 33, 08/05/95, Po, Died 8 days after being restrained with new batons by Clapham police officers, Misadventure
  • Dajin George, 26, 05/06/95, Ps, A schizophrenic died after falling 15 floors from a flat in Leyton, was meant to be under supervision by hospital staff, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Mohammed Massaquoi, 22, August 1995, Pr, Found hanged in his cell at Highdown prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Muttavel Vasanthan, 25, 25/08/95, Pr, Sri Lankan asylum seeker found hanged in his cell at Norwich prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Peter Williams, 19, 31/08/95, Pr, Found hanged in his cell at Aylesbury YOI, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Raja Khan, 24, 05/10/95, Pr, Found hanged in his cell at Mount prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Denis Stevens, 29, 18/10/95, Pr, Found dead in punishment block of Dartmoor prison; had been restrained in a body belt for 24 hours, Accidental death – December 1997, despite appeal to Court of appeal by family who wanted verdict of unlawful killing, coroner would not allow this, family boycotted resumed inquest
  • Brian Augustine, Age unknown, 30/10/95, Pr, Found hanged in his cell at Pentonville prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Kenneth Severin, 25, 26/11/95, Pr, Found dead in his cell at Bellmarsh after being restrained face down by 8 guards, Open verdict
  • Wayne Douglas, 25, 05/12/95, Po, Died in Brixton police station, Accidental death
  • Alton Manning, 33, 09/12/95, Pr, Died after being forcibly restrained by 8 guards at Blakenhurst (private) prison, Unlawful killing. In March 1999 the CPS decided not to prosecute the officers involved in his death, saying that there was no realistic prospect of obtaining a conviction
  • Newton White, 33, January 1996, Ps, Drowned in bath at Denis Hill Unit of Maudesley hospital, Open verdict
  • Noorjahan Begum, 35, 15/03/96, Po, Died after falling from balcony of flat where she was living; two immigration officials were calling at the flat at the time, Accidental death
  • Ibrahima Sey, 29, 16/03/96, Po, Died after being sprayed (while handcuffed) with CS spray in Ilford police station, Unlawful killing. In October 1998 the CPS decided that thare was not enough evidence to prosecute the officers involved in his death.
  • Ziya Bitirim, 47, April 96, Po, Died after collapsing and vomiting during his arrest, Accidental death
  • Donovan Williams, 36, April 96, Po, Died after collapsing in his cell during a search in Peckham police station, Accidental death
  • Dominic Otoo, 19, 22/05/96, Pr, Found dead in Hindley remand centre, Natural Causes
  • Ahmed El Gammal, 33, 13/8/96, Po, Died after struggling with police from Leyton police station, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Fred Tokunpor Akiyemi, 46, 4/10/96, Po, Died after falling from 5th floor of flat; Peckham police were calling at his flat at the time, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Veron Cowan, 32, October/November 1996, Ps, Died in secure unit of Blackberry Hill hospital, Natural Causes
  • George Bosie Davies, 36, 7/10/96, Po, Died in Marylebone police station after being arrested on suspicion of being drunk, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Oscar Okoye, 53, 11/11/96, Po, Died 5 months after being arrested by Streatham police on suspicion of being drunk, Natural causes
  • Herbert Gabbidon, 68, 10/01/97, Po, Died while in the custody of Walsall police who were deporting him back to Jamaica, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Peter Austin, 30, 30/01/97, Po, Found hanged in Brentford magistrates court, Lack of care contributed to accidental death
  • Ronnie Clarke, 38, 06/03/97, Pr, Found unconscious in cell at Wellingborough; taken to Kettering hospital where he died without regaining consciousness, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Abel Mukuna, 39, 12/03/97, Pr, Died in Greenwich hospital five days after being admitted from Belmarsh, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Marlon Downes, 20, 23/03/97, Po, Found hanged in cell of Harlesden police station, Open verdict
  • Peter San Pedro, 25, 3/04/97, Po, Died after walking into path of lorry hours after being arrested and sprayed with CS spray, Open verdict (December 98)
  • Lytton Shannon, 36, 1/05/97, Po, Collapsed and died after being arrested by Wolverhampton police, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Jason Sebastian, 23, 19/09/97, Pr, Found hanged in Belmarsh following 4 day segregation as punishment, Open verdict
  • Elliott Mitchell, 20, 26/02/98, Pr, Found hanged in Reading remand centre, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Christopher Alder, 37, 1/04/98, Po, Died after being arrested by Hull police; dragged to the station; placed on floor face down and handcuffed. In June 2002 a judge ordered the jury to clear 5 police officers charged with manslaughter and misconduct in public office charges because of conflicting evidence on how he died, Unanimous unlawful killing verdict
  • David Bennett, 38, 31/10/98, Ps, Died after being restrained face down for over 20 minutes by at least three nurses at the Norvic Clinic (Norwich), Accidental death aggravated by neglect; coroner made six recommendations
  • Patrick Louis, Age unknown, 2/11/98, Po, Died in the custody of Plumstead police who arrested him for being drunk and incapable, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Roger Sylvester, 30, 18/01/99, Po, Died 7 days after being restrained by police in Tottenham, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Robert Allotey, 37, 24/01/99, Po, Collapsed and died after being arrested by Wolverhampton police, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Paul Jemmott, Age unknown, 3/05/99, Pr, Attempted suicide by hanging at Aylesbury YOI and died five days later in hospital, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Leon Marshall, Age unknown, 15/07/99, Po, Died in hospital two days after being arrested for drugs related offences; officers were aware he had swallowed drugs but failed to take him to hospital, Accidental death
  • Spencer Weston, 21, 8/99, Po, Died after being hit by a car during a police chase. Spencer was involved in a fight in Leicester city centre between black and white youths and suffered head injuries from a racist attack. Chased by police wanting to make an arrest, he received fatal injuries after falling in the path of a passing car. The inquest into his death in May 2003 recorded a narrative verdict that ‘Spencer James Weston received fatal multiple injuries when he was hit by a motor car. At the time of the road traffic collision the deceased had evidence of MDMA (Ecstasy) at a concentration of 66 milligrams per litre and quite high levels of alcohol in his blood. He had also been seen a few minutes prior to the collision to run from the scene of a public order disturbance, with a head injury of unknown severity. The head injury, together with the alcohol and ecstasy, may have impaired his judgement.’
  • Sarah Thomas (aka Lai Hong Cheng), 34, 6/08/99, Po, Died in hospital two days after collapsing in Stoke Newington police station, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Ertan Uzan, 25, 14/12/99, Pr, Found hanged in his cell in Brixton prison, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Mr. Benmerabet, 42, 3/1/00, Po, Algerian Mr. Benmerabet collapsed outside the Atomics nightclub in Kent; Kent police were called to assist the ambulance service but deny restraint was used, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Asif Dad, 26, 16/1/00, Po, Died in the custody of Chelmsford police; according to the police, Asif was arrested after they were called to a disturbance in the street and he collapsed and died after a struggle, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Robertas Grabys, 49, 24/1/00, Pr, Lithuanian asylum-seeker hanged himself at Harmondsworth detention centre, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Keita Craig, Age unknown, 1/02/00, Pr, Suffered with mental health problems; took his own life in Wandsworth prison, Killed himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed. February 2001 – High Court orders new inquest after judicial review of the verdict. New inquest in October 2001 finds the same verdict but adds a rider that neglect was a contributory factor to the death.
  • Zahid Mubarek, 19, 23/3/00, Pr, Victim of a racist attack in his cell at Feltham Young Offenders Institute; he was just 12 hours from being released; the attack left Zahid with massive head injuries and he died five days later, His assailant, his cellmate, 19-year-old Robert Joseph Stewart, was jailed for life for his murder in November 2000
  • Edita Pommel, 20, 5/5/00, Pr, Edita Pommel was found hanged in HMP Brockhill; she had complained about racial harassment from a prison officer; her death is now the source of an investigation being carried out by West Mercia police, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Cheryl Simone Hartman, 20, 18/6/00, Pr, Cheryl was found hanged in her cell at Holloway Prison; Cheryl had a history of mental illness and had asked to go to prison for medical help, Open verdict
  • Sultan Khan, 50, 30/6/00, Po, Died after being restrained by police officers in Clarence Park, St Albans. He had just left a nearby mosque and was restrained using handcuffs and leg restraints. The PCA press release commented that he had been arrested for drugs offences. The inquest into his death opened in November 2001.
  • Rashid Kausmally, 48, 1/01, Pr, A Mauritian found dead in the hospital wing of Lewes Prison. He had been charged with rape and robbery offences committed in Brighton. He was a known suicide risk and died after putting a plastic bag over his head – suffocating to death.
  • Eugene Edigin, 19, 3/01, Psy, He attended the psychiatric unit at the Whittington hospital and was detained the day before his death under the Mental Health Act because of ‘erratic behaviour’. The following day he was found unconscious in his bed. The inquest in February 2003 recorded an open verdict. His family were critical of staff who, they allege, failed to monitor his diabetes.
  • Derek Bennett, Age unknown, 16/7/01, Po, Shot dead in the street by Brixton police who alleged they were called by a member of the public; Derek was carrying a novelty lighter shaped like a gun, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Michelle Allen, Age unknown, 2/11/01, Pr, Found hanged at Barking magistrates court; The company responsible for prisoners – Securicor Custodial Services – refused to comment, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Ricky Bishop, Age unknown, 22/11/01, Po, Taken to Brixton police station to be searched where he was restrained; then taken to Kings College hospital where he died, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Jospeh Crensil, Age unknown, 25/11/01, Po, Died after falling from a third floor window of a flat in Streatham; two immigration and two police officers were questioning five other men at the flat; Jospeh – who was hiding in the bathroom – tried to escape and fell to his death, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Nariman Tahamasbi, 27, 25/2/02, Pr, Found hanged in Lewes prison, he was serving a six-month sentence, for fraud and deception.
  • Marcus Downie, 21, 11/5/02, Pr, Found hanged in Chelmsford prison.
  • Lee Duvall, 23, 14/08/02, Po, Found dead in Ladywell police station a day after his arrest.
  • Fosta Errol Thompson, Age unknown, 15/08/02, Po, Shot dead by police in St. Werbergh’s area of Bristol, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Kwame Sasu Wiredu, Age unknown, 30/08/02, Po, Arrested and taken to Stoke Newington police station where he complained of stomach pains; a doctor claimed he was fit enough to be detained; he was later found collapsed in his cell and died in Homerton hospital, Inquest verdict unknown
  • Beverley Fowler, 32, 2/10/02, Pr, Found hanged, two days before the end of her sentence, in Durham prison. She was a mother of three from Jamaica who was due to be deported back there after serving a sentence for drug smuggling. In September 2003, an inquest recorded an open verdict. The inquest was told she feared for her safety back in Kingston; the man who forced her into drug smuggling had murdered her partner.
  • Stuart Warwick, 29,16/1/03, Pr, Died from burns in HMP Winchester.
  • Mihail Bognarchuk, 42, 31/1/03, Pr, Ukrainian asylum seeker found hanged at Haslar removal centre.
  • Sponford Antonio Green, 43, 27/3/03, Po, Died after falling from the thirteenth floor balcony of the flat where he was staying. The inquest jury recorded a narrative verdict that ‘he accidentally fell from the 13th floor whilst trying to evade custody.’ Police were calling at his flat to arrest him for a breach of licence. According to his girlfriend, Antonio fled to the balcony (as he had on previous occasions when the police called) but was surprised to find police offices waiting on the neighbouring balcony. She also commented that ‘one of the officers grabbed hold of him on the shoulder. I didn’t know whether he was pulling Antonio back or pushing him over.’
  • Adel Muftah El-Hage, 29,16/3/03, Pr, Found electrocuted at Woodhill (category A) prison. Adel, a Libyan, was on remand after being arrested and charged in February 2003 with the murder of his wife, Salma Abusedra. At pre-trial hearings he had begged the judge to send him to Saudi Arabia so that he could face the death penalty, but had been refused.
  • Patrick Okello, 32, 21/5/03, Pr, found hanged at Wandsworth.
  • Rajwinder Singh Mutti, 29/3/03, Pr, Found hanged in Blakenhurst (private) prison where he was on remand for a charge of GBH. Rajwinder, an asylum seeker, had been in the UK for a few years and was granted indefinite leave to remain.
  • Ertal Hussein, 32, 21/6/03, Psy, Found collapsed at Bethlem Royal hospital, he was taken to Princes Royal University hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Since 1990, Ertal had been sectioned several times. A police investigation is ongoing and the hospital has launched an internal inquiry.
  • Tema Kombe (aka Emmanuel Silva/ Gladwell Moseki Keenao), 32, 4/9/03, Psy, A Ugandan asylum seeker was found hanged in the toilet of a psychiatric ward at Heatherwood hospital, Ascot. In January 2004, an inquest returned a verdict of misadventure after hearing that he had made three previous attempts on his life.
  • Iqbal Shamraz, 35, 5/9/03, Pr, Found hanged at Nottingham prison.
  • Michael Powell, 38, 7/9/03, Po, Died after being arrested by police in Lozell’s, Birmingham. The police were called by his family after he began behaving erratically. During the course of the struggle to restrain him, Michael was knocked over by a police car and then, according to witnesses, restrained by police using batons and CS spray. Six officers were suspended.
  • Mohammed bin Duhri, 20, 20/10/03, Pr, Palestinian asylum seeker found hanged at Belmarsh maximum security prison. He had been held at Dover Immigration Removal Centre but after he allegedly assaulted a guard he was moved to Belmarsh. Three prison officers were suspended after they allegedly filed reports saying he was alive and well when he was already dead.
  • Paul Yorke, 38, 2/11/03, Po, died after being arrested by police officers at Terminal Two of Heathrow airport. He was taken to Heathrow police station where he was charged with being a ‘prohibited person’ (it is alleged that he had been banned from airport property) and then detained in a cell. He was, according to police, seen by a Forensic Medical Examiner on at least three occasions and deemed fit for detention. However, the following day, officers called an ambulance at 7.00 am after he was found collapsed in his cell. He was taken to Hillingdon hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Police Complaints Authority and the Directorate of Professional Standards are investigating his death.
  • Liang He, 23, 10/11/03, Pr, Found hanged at Bedford prison.

Related links

List of deaths in police custody since 2014


Miscarriages of Justice UK

National Civil Rights Movement


The Monitoring Group

Last updated: 19 February 2004

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

38 thoughts on “Black Deaths in Custody

  1. i really am pissed wit dis. i fink he probably died of shame. please i ll’d like 2 know more about my uncle’s death.

  2. I’d be very happy to (a)help the authorities fix a date for putting a stop to police harrassment of blacks,(b) facillitate security(of any kind) among blacks, (c)work in unison with them and constantly focus on issues that are directly relevant to the issue outlined in (a) above

  3. Greetings, Thank you for not forgetting my brother. Although I was only 15 when he died, I was confused why someone in his condition should be left unsupervised long enough for them to kill themselves. It has been very hard to research this for myself, so any info you have would be of immense importance to me, my siblings, but ,ore importantly my niece, his daughter. I would ask that your share it with me. Thank you Karen Marsh

  4. all coppoers are bastards…iam mently ill and on medicion to calm my state down …it just seems like thepolice are getting very heavy handed..i was having a demestic with girl freind. the police turned up trying to take me naked..and refused me my cloths..becouse i was demanding them i need cloths to go station..8-12 officers beat me and gas me..infront our kids

  5. all greater manchester police are wankers…………they think there legal gangsters…thay want a police state..they drivr around shouting abuse to people so they retali ate and say somthing back then they lock u up …thats wat there like ….they harrass the youngsers…..and officers pick out fights or they just keep harising you …ive conplained my self in our local station ..

  6. if the police are up dating there wepons ..gas and taisers things will get worse electrocuting people is rong…..all i can say is fight back but do that and more police come…. and thats how you end up dead in custerdy or die later in jail from internal bleeding from bruses ……lets stand up and or white it dont matter more brutalitly from the system thats supose to look after us blair we dont want want this treatment from police ….yous need to all chil out with ya bad attitudes and stop using forse on us who my have mental problems first ..ask before you just dive on some one to arrest them cos you never no they might be ill and now you may have killed him….stockport police is full of corrupt officers not saying names but they have ties to the criminal world …and these are the one who need rooting out…dci kenny cadwell from stockport cid try to take urly retyerment to save his arrs be couse he was hold back everdance that may of held in fo on other suspects in the case …hes retierment got over lord and he must turn up and give is eveydance ….he allso has a history of getting criminals to admit to t. i . c even if they dint do them yes making loof like they had reached there over all target …they reached no target …they just proved ther not to be trusted

  7. im the daughter of harold roberts who is listed on this page they say he commited suicide but i belive diffrent i think he was murdered cause there was amissing pair of shoes wich my father loved which was missing out of his property and up untill today no one knows what happened to the shoes and an hour befor my father was found hung my uncle went to see him when he arrived at prestwich hospital he found my father all drugged up he was so drugged that when my uncle came into the room my father asked him could he pass him his denture wich he had and the bed side cabinet he asked my uncle could he help him put the teeth in as he was to week to do so cause they drugged him up after my uncle left the prestwich hospital he was on his way home when the hospital phoned him to tell him that my dad had hung his self in the toilets for 1 the toilets was childrens toilets my father was 6 foot 4 a very tall man who couldnt possibly hang his self from a child toilet cause he was to tall 2 if he didnt have the strenght to put in his denture how the hell was he suppose to get the strength to hang his self??? my uncle was called with in minutes of leaving the hospital my father couldnt have possibly have hung his self in that time and on that day after school my mum should have took me my brother and sister to see him after school but she didnt get the chance cause my uncle picked him up from school to tell him the news about my father which was very devastating for him then he came to my mums house to tell my mum the news about my father which broke her heart and all of ours up until today my mum still hasnt had the whole truth wich is heart breaking for he cause we was all so little at the timei was 7yrs my brother was 11 yrs my sister was 9 yrs now im 31yrs old and have my own kids now who are now asking me what happened to my father and i have no awnsers for them i promise my self im planning to reopen my fathers case no matter what happen ???? to be continued simone melanie smith

  8. My father Ronnie Clarke named here was autopsied 7 times the first time claimed he blacked out after the gym because he was using amphetamines the second came back negative the third positive and the rest negative! He also had a skull fracture at the base of the back of his head above his shoulders an injury that couldn’t be got by blacking out and falling forward which would be the case if walking and blacking out. There are many things that show this case to be the sham it was and I know that many bacteria that call themselves people of position have contributed to this case being dismissed as unknown. I’m not a religious person or even a spiritual one but I hope to god karma has the slight possibility of reaping retribution I as his son will never be able to obtain justice for what’s happened but I hope that this tragedy does not befall anybody else and that hopefully those of us that have dealt with this come to peace with the fact our loved ones will live on in us and the lives that we lead.

  9. Well that’s excatly the plan and always has been the plan racism and slavery still goes on they kill the blacks and lock em up like animals beat them and kill them and make it look like sucide a person that has 6months won’t hang them selfs surely! There was a lot of hanging I read its planned and done purposely, to help cut down the black population. After mistreating black ppl and beating dem and locking them up like caged animals and taking away there freedom u hav white woman wanting mix raced bbys to help eliminated the black race even more look at d bigger picture slavery days haven’t gone its just been hidden in different ways.

  10. All those evil ppl being able to get away with murder what whites fail to understand der will always be black ppl on earth we are going no where and the smart ones will reproduce them selfs(own colour) and grow more and more

  11. rest in peace to 2 of my friends on ur list OAKLEY RAMSEY,was a tall quite and very handsome man who loved to dance and was very good a very popular man with a gorgeous smile and to LYTTON SHANNON everyone called him shannon again well loved in the commuinity of walsall west midlands you are both greatly missed xx

  12. Thanks so much for placein my brother p.b.a.h amin raja khan still not exepting suicide he was a man’s man a true soider and my life and my familys ROCK peace be upon hom inshallah amin luv u 4ever chubby your baby bro xx

  13. salaam,s I can relate to all your stories,ifound my comfort in converting to Islam”””””””i pray to (ALLAH)he make;s short life easy for all of you (AMEEN)………….RONNY MEAH

  14. Arthur Willison hung himself in brixton prison on 17 of december 1992 age 27 and he’s name was not put up I am very sad as he left he’s 8 year old daughter

  15. Lloyd Butler died in police custody at stechford police station, 4/8/2010. an assisted death, due to neglect by officers, important to mention,it is not just black people who die in custody. I am my sons mother and I can assure you that its the same pain to every parent regardless to what their skin colour maybe.

  16. I was shocked and saddened to hear of Kwame Sasu’s death. I will always miss his warmth, humor and friendship. It is difficult to know what to do in times like these when I miss him the most. He’s always in my thoughts and prayers. A thousand times i needed him, a thousand times i cried, if love alone could have saved, he never would have died. God broke my heart to prove he only took the best. R. I. P Sasu!!! You’re always loved!

  17. The independent police complaints authority in its present form is a national and international disgrace
    it needs more radical lawful powers rather than so call
    cosy relations and recommendations
    if it has no legal powers to investigate and bring criminal charges against corrupt and murdering
    police prison and other officers who carry out a public care and protection duty be it goverment institutions or
    private ones like g4 and mental health nurses
    we have too many scandals of all kinds of abuse power

  18. I am really shocked and disgusted with this list!! It makes me shudder with despair, when will this unjust society end, especially to black men…

  19. I was in hmp Aylesbury when Peter williams was found hanged and believe me it was a murder and the officers were involved along with white inmates

  20. My dad Oakley. ramsey taken from me when I was just about to reach two!!!! Never will be accepting of his death and never will not having him in my life become any easier!!!!

  21. The Police are part of the state which makes it difficult and impossible to bring them to justice, for any crime they commit unless there is overwhelming evidence ie video footage from many people mobile phones or other sources.

    Reform is needed to bring changes to this out of date self governing state police system

  22. Patrick Okello listed above was my childhood friend.We grew up together in Uganda,attending the same Primary School,Mwiri Primary Jinja and later Mwiri College for O levels.My memories of Patrick are of a brave,fearless and adventurouse character.Patrick was powerfully built ,strong and tall for his age.In primary School he protected me from bullies.Bless him.Me and Patrick separated in 1989 after our O level exams when he travelled to UK.We kept in touch via letters but after a while we lost touch.I travelled to the UK for studies in 2002 and was eager to meet Patrick again but he was no where to be found.I attended Ugandan parties and visited happening Ugandan clubs hoping to meet Patrick but to no avail.This was very strange to me because I knew Patrick as an outgoing person.After a while I gave up searching.Then out of the blue a mutual friend of ours called me with the sad news that he had chances upon this list with Patrick listed as having hanged himself at Wandsworth Prison.This was a massive shock to me.It took a while to sink in that my best friend was gone.It made me think about how life has many twists and turns ahead of us.I always knew Patrick as a tough nut to crack,so for him to have hanged himself in Prison means that Prison is tough indeed!May God welcome and comfort my childhood friend in heaven.Amen.

  23. Peter Williams was hanged in Aylesbury prison a racist attack the screws let the white inmate into his cell and beat him with table legs then tied him up with his hands tied behind his back he was left hanging for most of the day while prisoners were out on association .it was racist killing

  24. X convicts tht have a spent record who have not been, in any way involved with breaking the law and can also pass illicit drug screen etc should be allowed to do voluntary work in prisons as be frienders, also mentor prisoners they are proof tht there is mainstream life after jail and they would be too happy to report an officer neglecting an inmate, The volunteers would obviously be vulnerable as they would be asked to break the rules, I don’t know if there is already a scheme set up

  25. I must comment on this as I was in Hindley young offenders in 1996 when Dominic otoo from this list who I knew from the manchester area died in his cell I am offended by the natural causes as the cause of death he was constantly pleading with the doctors at the prison and the officers to take him to hospital with intense headaches for many weeks but they refused giving him just paracetamol which led to his death so
    The real cause of death was negligence and a refusal to give him his right to medical attention so basically the prison services abuse of
    People’s rights which seems to be standard resulted in this 20 year old mans death.shame on the government and the prison service for what I witnessed is ultimately murder.

    1. My name is Kofi taylor DOMINIC otoo was my brother and I miss him so much them prison staff in hindley are not fit to do that job I told them to take my brother to the hospital in the end thay did long time after then brought him back then my bro was found paralyzed in his cell staring at the ceiling I fucking hate the lot of them RIP bro love ya are kid x

  26. Hi
    My father is 2 nd on the list His name Swarn Singh Grewal date of death 2 / 08/ 79. I wanted advice if any compensation could be gained of this death in Southall police custody
    I would be grateful for any feedback.
    Mr Grewal

  27. Names not included

    Garfield Finn Found hanged in prison.

    Horrace Walker Died in Streatham Police Station

    Brian Douglas Death in Custody Kennington Policed Station.

    • Cheryl Simone Hartman, Age unknown, 18/6/00, Pr, Cheryl was found hanged in her cell at Holloway Prison; Cheryl had a history of mental illness and had asked to go to prison for medical help, Open verdict

    Cheryl’s AGE was 20 yrs old when she died. She was due out 1 week after her death. She was my baby sister.

    1. Dear Sean, thank you very much for your comment – we have updated the record. Wishing you well, IRR News Team

  28. Hello, I have been referring to this tragic list for a long time, and I hope it will be updated. None of those who died in such circumstances should be forgotten.

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