Inquest into police death to open after six years

Inquest into police death to open after six years


Written by: Harmit Athwal

Next week the inquest will begin into the death of Mikey Powell in police custody in Birmingham in September 2003.

After a six-year wait, the family and friends of 38-year-old Mikey Powell will finally find out how he died after being arrested by West Midlands police officers outside his mother’s home in the Lozells area of Birmingham. According to his family, Mikey had suffered several short episodes of mental illness in the past from which he had recovered.

According to INQUEST, the only organisation in the UK to assist the families of those who die in custody, police officers ‘drove a car at Mikey, hitting him, then used CS spray and a baton while restraining him. Even though Mikey was injured, rather than taking him to a hospital, the officers instead drove him to Thornhill Road police station where he died at some point during his detention.’

In 2006, there was a three-month trial of ten police officers (eight faced charges of misconduct in public office, and two charges of dangerous driving). All were acquitted.

The inquest had been due to start in March, but Mikey’s family were forced to challenge the failure of the coroner and Northamptonshire police to provide them access to 4,000 documents relating to the police investigation into Mikey’s death. The High Court in London ordered that the family be granted access to these and the new inquest date was set.

Tippa Napthali, Mikey Powell’s cousin said: ‘Such deaths in custody like Mikey’s frequently fade from public interest while the grief and anguish of affected families can continue for many years. We have only ever wanted answers to the many questions as yet unanswered, and hope that this inquest will mark an important stage in our continued quest for truth and accountability for Mikey’s death.’

The inquest will begin at 10am on Wednesday 4 November 2009, at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall. (Upper Clifton Road, Sutton Coldfield Birmingham, B73 6AB) and is expected to last for six weeks.

Related links

The Friends of Mikey Powell Campaign for Justice


4WardEver Campaign

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

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