Race case inquest hears victim's father tell of police incompetence

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The Independent Online

An inquest into the death of Asian student Ricky Reel has heard the victim's father, Balwant Reel, explain how police officers failed to take notes and told him his son had been drunk when he died. He also said that police reported they were unable to act for the initial 24 hours immediately following his son's death.

An inquest into the death of Asian student Ricky Reel has heard the victim's father, Balwant Reel, explain how police officers failed to take notes and told him his son had been drunk when he died. He also said that police reported they were unable to act for the initial 24 hours immediately following his son's death.

The inquest, taking place today, comes after the re-opening of investigations into possible race crimes.

20-year-old university student Ricky Reel had split from his friends after two men shouted racial abuse at them following a night out in Kingston-upon-Thames, south-west London.

His friends briefly fought with the men but Mr Reel walked off and he was not seen again. Two weeks later his body was pulled from the River Thames.

The case was reopened last year along with other cases with a possible racist link.

Police had originally claimed that Mr Reel had drowned accidentally in October 1997 but three officers were later disciplined after the first inquiry was scrutinised.

Detectives released CCTV footage in August which showed six people who Ricky might have seen but police were disappointed by the public response.

Mr Reel's mother Sukhdev said: "I hope it can tell me how my son died and we can achieve justice for him."