Marcia Rigg: The whole family has a passion for justice, we just want to know truth


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The Independent Online

“Nothing could prepare us for the unnecessary battle we were about to face for the next four years to find out the truth about how our brother died on the evening of Thursday 21 August 2008. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions.

We assumed there would be an independent, transparent investigation to get to the truth and we wouldn’t have to do anything. However, we realised quite quickly when we couldn’t get answers to even simple questions that we were not going to get that.

We always worried that we might lose Sean during a relapse when he often travelled abroad, but we never thought it would happen like this on his door step, and that’s what I’ll never accept as it shouldn’t have happened.

We visited the hostel where Sean lived and learnt about the actions of his mental health team we were very disappointed to discover that knowing Sean had missed his medication for almost two months, and despite our 20 year relationship with them, no one contacted the family to say that Sean was relapsing so we could encourage him to take his medication.

Only after we insisted to the IPCC, we were able to see Sean 36 hours later. He was lying behind a glass windowed room with a very long rod bolting him inside.  We couldn’t touch him. He was covered from chin to toe in a red body bag. It was devastating for all my family and we were crying.   We insisted we wanted to go into the room and the rod was removed.  There were wounds to Sean’s temple that the so-called independent police watchdog failed to tell us about. We only learnt about the bruise on Sean’s back during the inquest. 

Obtaining disclosure from the authorities was a heavy task. I gave up my 20-year career as a legal PA in the City as this has been like a full time job. After long bouts of delay tactics, hearings, trawling through files and documents the family discovered what the police really did and their actions were inhumane. 

We received the majority of the evidence just weeks before the inquest and during the Inquest, but some evidence is still missing. No family should have to go through this sort of behaviour when their loved one dies in state custody.  Families deserve a truly independent body to do a robust and transparent investigation. The question remains, who is going to be held accountable for Sean’s death?

The whole family has a passion for justice, we just want to know truth, the good, the bad and the ugly, and then we can grieve and get some closure. Sean will never knock on our door again, this isn’t over yet."

Marcia Rigg is Sean Rigg's older sister