Tomlinson pathologist's decisions questioned

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The Independent Online

Freddy Patel, the pathologist who carried out the first post-mortem examination of the newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson after the G20 protests, is no stranger to controversy.

Dr Patel, who is on a Home Office register of accredited forensic pathologists, has had his handling of suspicious deaths questioned twice.

He was reprimanded about his professional conduct by the General Medical Council in 1999 after he released medical details of 30-year-old Roger Sylvester, a black man who died in police custody.

Dr Patel told reporters outside an inquest: "I am aware from the medical records held at Whittington hospital that Mr Sylvester was a user of crack cocaine."

Sylvester's distraught family disputed the allegation.

When asked about the reprimand last week, Dr Patel said: "That is right. It happened a long time ago."

In another case in 2002, Dr Patel concluded that Sally White, 38, died of natural causes from heart disease. Her body was discovered in a house belonging to Anthony Hardy, a 52-year-old mentally disturbed alcoholic, in Camden, London. Hardy later killed Elizabeth Valad, 29, and Brigette MacClennan, 34.

White's death had been treated as suspicious until Dr Patel's findings.

Speaking about this case last week, Dr Patel said: "As far as I know, my findings stand as they were, and I wasn't criticised."

When the full report is released we will know whether Dr Patel's findings conflict with those of Dr Cary.