Judge grants Douglas inquest review

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The Independent Online
There was renewed pressure on the police to revise their methods of restraining suspects yesterday after a judge opened the way for the family of Wayne Douglas, 25, whose death in custody triggered the 1995 Brixton riots, to challenge an inquest verdict.

Mr Justice Forbes ruled that Lisa Douglas-Williams, sister of the dead man, had an arguable case for a judicial review of the direction given by Southwark coroner Sir Montague Levine to the inquest jury, which brought in a verdict of accidental death.

The jury said Mr Douglas, a burglary suspect who officers said had threatened them with a knife, had died from heart failure caused by "positional asphyxia" brought on by stress and exhaustion after a chase and being held face down in the prone position.

A new inquest could be ordered if Ms Douglas-Williams succeeds in a full judicial review hearing in July. Giving the go-ahead for the challenge yesterday, the judge said it was arguable that Sir Montague had failed to give adequate or clear directions to the jury on two possible forms of unlawful killing.