Detective removed from cockler deaths inquiry after racist remarks

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The Independent Online

A detective who used the racist term "chink" while investigating the deaths of the Chinese cocklers at Morecombe Bay has been removed from the inquiry.

A detective who used the racist term "chink" while investigating the deaths of the Chinese cocklers at Morecombe Bay has been removed from the inquiry.

Detective Constable Neil Thompson was reprimanded with a formal written warning and the removal from the investigation after admitting to using the term.

He made the reference while interviewing David Eden, the director of Bay Fishing Company, who was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in February.

Mr Eden, 33, who was not charged in connection with the deaths of the cocklers, told a news conference about the comments made by DC Thompson prompting Lancashire Police to launch a misconduct inquiry.

During the internal investigation, DC Thompson admitted that he had used the term "chink" on one occasion during the recorded interview.

Mr Eden, from Merseyside, who remains on police bail in relation to immigration offences, condemned the conduct of the detective in the light of a tragedy that had claimed the lives of at least 20 cocklers. "I didn't expect any more in terms of the outcome, but he should have been sacked," he said.

Lancashire Police said it was investigating the possibility that three more cocklers may have drowned on 5 February, potentially bringing the final toll to 23.

Eight police officers were due to leave today for the Fujian Province of China to speak to three families and collect DNA.

"There are three missing people whose families in China have said they think they were at Morecambe Bay," said a spokeswoman.