Police charged with killing Joy Gardner

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The Independent Online
THREE POLICE officers are to be charged with the manslaughter of Joy Gardner, who collapsed and died after being detained under a deportation order in August 1992.

Detective Sergeant Linda Evans and Constable John Burrell have been summoned to appear at Bow Street magistrates' court in London in June, the Crown Prosecution Service said yesterday. Constable Colin Whitby faces prosecution when he returns from holiday.

A CPS spokeswoman said: 'The decision follows an inquiry by Essex Assistant Chief Constable James Conlan into the circumstances surrounding Mrs Gardner's death.'

Mrs Gardner, 40, who was born in Jamaica, collapsed during a struggle with officers at her home in north London after her mouth was gagged and she was bound with a leather belt and handcuffs. She died four days later in hospital. The decision to prosecute the officers was welcomed by her friends and family but they all insisted that there must still be a full public inquiry.

Myrna Simpson, Mrs Gardner's mother, said last night: 'I'm very pleased and relieved they have done something. We will continue to campaign for a full public inquiry because there are some aspects which will not necessarily come out at a trial.'

Mrs Simpson, who cares for her daughter's six-year-old son, Graeme, said they both missed her very much. 'God will make sure there will be justice in the end,' she said.

All three officers were suspended by Paul Condon, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, shortly after Mrs Gardner's death.

Mike Bennett, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said his members were 'very angry' at the decision to prosecute. 'It does beg the question why these officers stand alone when somebody in authority authorised the use of the gagging equipment. They have our full support.'

It is understood two senior Scotland Yard officers were questioned under caution but no action has been taken.

Legal sources last night expressed surprise at the decision to prosecute, in view of the conflicting evidence about the cause of Mrs Gardner's death from pathologists on behalf of the family and the police.

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