'Cover-up' fears over Gardner death case

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A FRESH row erupted last night over the inquiry into the death of Joy Gardner, who died after a struggle with deportation police officers.

As the confidential report into claims that she was suffocated by a gag was sent to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider charges, community leaders feared a 'cover-up'.

Mrs Gardner, 40, collapsed and died after a struggle with Metropolitan Police Deportation Squad officers and immigration officials at her home in Hornsey, north London, who had turned up to return her to Jamaica. The inquiry centred on suggestions that she had been gagged with tape, thus obstructing her breathing.

Her death last August prompted the suspension of three police officers and led to a ban on the gags. An inquiry, supervised by the Police Complaints Authority, was set up.

The report was apparently delayed because of disagreement between numerous pathologists and consultant neurologists over the cause of death - fuelling reports that charges were unlikely.

Last night, Bernie Grant, Labour MP for Tottenham, said he had been told months ago 'the facts would come to light and justice would be done'. But, he said, if no charges were to be made, the circumstances of the case would never be made public.

Repeating his calls for a full public inquiry, he said: 'If there is disagreement over the cause of death, it should go before a judge and jury.'