Three police officers have been found not guilty of lying under oath about a man who died while in custody.Kingsley Burrell, 29, died from cardiac arrest in March 2011, four days after being detained by police. Paul Adey, 37, Mark Fannon, 45, and Paul Greenfield, 51, were cleared of perjury and perverting the course of justice by jurors at Birmingham Crown Court.After the verdict, Mr Burrell’s family renewed calls for a public inquiry.Kingsley Burrell death: ‘He was treated like a terrorist’The offences related to evidence given during Mr Burrell’s inquest.The prosecution had alleged the officers lied about a cloth being placed over the head of Mr Burrell.
The three-week trial was told that numerous witnesses saw Mr Burrell’s head or face covered with either a towel, sheet or blanket when he was placed in a seclusion room at Birmingham’s Oleaster mental health unit.The West Midlands Police constables were alleged to have lied during an initial inquiry into the death and at the subsequent coroner’s hearing.Jurors deliberated for almost 10 hours before clearing the officers, who all denied both charges.In 2015 an inquest jury ruled that prolonged restraint had been a factor in Mr Burrell’s death, as well as failure to provide basic medical attention.It added a blanket that was put over his head should have been removed.
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The inquest’s verdict forced a reopening of the investigation and the officers were later charged with the two offences.Following the verdict, West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe said the role the officers played in Mr Burrell’s detention had been “thoroughly examined”.She added: “There has never been any suggestion they were criminally responsible for Mr Burrell’s death.”We do not underestimate the impact this investigation has had on Kingsley’s family, the wider community and the officers; we share concerns that this investigation has taken such a length of time.”
Mr Burrell’s relatives and supporters, including his sister Kadisha Brown-Burrell and mother Janet Brown, expressed disappointment at the verdicts.Speaking outside court, family spokesman Desmond Jaddoo called for a fresh review of all the evidence surrounding Mr Burrell’s death.He also renewed a call for a full public inquiry into the circumstances of the father-of-three’s treatment.Mr Jaddoo said: “We now request that the Home Secretary now place our 2015 request for a public inquiry into these systemic failings back on the agenda, as promised, following the conclusion of these proceedings.”Responding to the family’s call for a further review, the Crown Prosecution Service said: “There remains insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any officers or medical health professionals involved in the restraint and treatment of Kingsley Burrell.”
Source: BBC Black Country