Officer pleads not guilty to Ian Tomlinson manslaughter


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The Independent Online

The police officer accused of killing the newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson during London's G20 protests in 2009 has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

PC Simon Harwood was charged over the death of Mr Tomlinson, who collapsed soon after being struck from behind by a police officer. He was walking away from the police line and had his hands in his pockets when he was struck. His relatives reacted with dismay yesterday as PC Harwood, 40, delivered the plea at Southwark Crown Court. Mr Tomlinson's wife, Julia, wiped tears from her eyes, while his stepson, Paul King, hung his head and muttered: "No".

The police officer was told: "You are charged on this indictment with manslaughter, that on April 1 2009, you unlawfully killed Ian Tomlinson. How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?" He answered: "My Lord, not guilty."

Charges were brought against PC Harwood by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, after a review of an inquest jury's verdict that the 47-year-old newspaper vendor had been unlawfully killed. Mr Starmer previously said new medical evidence at the inquest and the opinions of experts during the hearing helped change his mind in launching proceedings.

Video footage produced in the wake of Mr Tomlinson's death showed a police officer strike his legs with a baton before pushing him violently to the floor from behind. Mr Tomlinson collapsed and died soon afterwards.

PC Harwood is due to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court from 13 June next year.