Radio Sandwell Local News

Kingsley Burrell inquest: Family's request for bigger venue ignored

2015-04-06 22:32:32

Kingsley BurrellKingsley Burrell

The family of Kingsley Burrell, who died in police custody, fear they will be unable to attend his inquest tomorrow (April 7) – because the venue is too small.

They demanded the long-awaited hearing is switched from Birmingham Coroner’s Court to a city hotel to accommodate the large numbers expected to turn-up.

But their wishes have been ignored and the inquest is due to go ahead at the court as planned.

Mr Burrell died in March, 2011, at Edgbaston's Queen Elizabeth Hospital three days after dialling 999, fearing he was about to be attacked by a gang.

The 29-year-old was detained under the Mental Health Act, transferred to a mental health unit, then the QE.

Community activist Desmond Jaddoo, representing Kingsley's family, told the Birmingham Mail: “This is a highly complicated case and involves several agencies, hence in the region of seven barristers, The Burrell family, witnesses, the campaign team and also the public.

“Clearly the coroner’s court is not large enough.”

Mr Burrell’s death sparked a chain of protests, including outside the Colmore Gate offices of Birmingham’s Crown Prosecution Service.

Last year the CPS announced there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute four police officers and six NHS staff involved in treating or caring for Mr Burrell in the hours and days before he died.

News of the inquest has been welcomed by the family, but they want a venue that can house all interested parties.

Mr Jaddoo said: “It is our understanding that the matter of costs have arisen. Why is this an issue when the family has had to wait four years for answers.

“Owing to the size of the venue many may find themselves excluded from this all important public debate which has been ongoing for the past four years.

“We call upon the coroner to do what is right and seek a larger venue, even at a city hotel, in order to ensure this inquest is conducted in an open and transparent manner with access for all parties, the family and, importantly, the general public.”

Birmingham Coroner's office has declined to comment following several requests for a comment from the Birmingham Mail.

Here is a look back at a protest march held over Kingsley's death last year:

Kingsley BurrellProtest march over Kingsley Burrell custody death

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