Tomlinson death officer in court
Sunday 19 June 2011
A Scotland Yard officer will appear in court tomorrow accused of killing Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests.
Mr Tomlinson, a homeless 47-year-old newspaper seller, collapsed and died on the fringes of the demonstrations in central London on April 1 2009.
Pc Simon Harwood, a father of two from Carshalton, Surrey, will appear before City of Westminster Magistrates' Court charged with manslaughter.
The Director of Public Prosecutions charged Pc Harwood over the death after reviewing an inquest jury's unlawful killing verdict.
Keir Starmer QC said new medical evidence at the inquest and the opinions of experts during the hearing helped change his mind.
In a statement, he added: "The difficulties that would now confront any prosecution have changed in nature and scale from last year when a decision was taken not to prosecute, although it is clear that real difficulties remain."
The death became an international controversy after New York businessman Christopher La Jaunie handed footage he had taken of a police confrontation to the Guardian newspaper.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said the case is "clearly a very, very serious matter for all concerned".
He added: "I have got to be very, very concerned at an inquest verdict that returns a verdict of unlawful killing involving, as the inquest did, one of my police officers.
"My sympathies continue to be with the Tomlinson family."
CCTV images, police helicopter footage and hand-held video recordings show Mr Tomlinson cutting a lonely figure as he staggered away from a police cordon after being hit with a baton.
Footage then shows Mr Tomlinson gesturing to police and appearing angry after being sent tumbling to the ground.
His widow Julia said the death devastated her family, adding: "I remember feeling he was the best thing that ever happened to me."
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