Widow weeps at G20 death footage
Tuesday 29 March 2011
Family members of Ian Tomlinson were in tears today as an inquest jury was shown harrowing new video of the newspaper seller dying at the G20 protests.
Widow Julia wept uncontrollably as fresh footage was screened of the 47-year-old's last moments after being shoved to the ground from behind by Pc Simon Harwood.
She told the jury his death had devastated her family, adding: "I remember feeling he was the best thing that ever happened to me."
Stepson Paul King said he "idolised" Mr Tomlinson.
CCTV images, police helicopter footage and handheld video recordings showed Mr Tomlinson cutting a lonely figure as he staggered away from a police cordon after being hit with a baton on the fringes of the anti-summit demonstration in London in 2009.
The footage showed Mr Tomlinson, in his "distinctive" Millwall FC T-shirt, gesture to police and appearing angry after being sent tumbling to the ground.
Footage then scanned a row of helmeted police officers with dogs.
At one point a video microphone picks up the words: "I hope they do that when we go live."
One family member walked out on proceedings as a combination of CCTV and helicopter footage showed Mr Tomlinson walking unsteadily before he eventually collapsed flat out in Cornhill, near St Michael's Alley.
After receiving treatment, he was seen being carried through the police cordon. Mr Tomlinson was pronounced dead 40 minutes later on April 1.
Before the encounter with Mr Tomlinson, Pc Harwood was seen dragging a protester away from a crowd in a bid to arrest him.
Andrew Brown, then a Pc with City of London police, remembers noticing Mr Tomlinson "shuffling along".
"Initially I told him he couldn't go through the cordon," he told the inquest. "Strangely he didn't look at me, he was looking over my shoulder.
But he added: "Throughout there was no confrontation or any aggression directed towards the police."
The jury was taken by bus for a five-minute tour of the spot as part of the first day's evidence.
Jurors walked from the Royal Exchange Buildings to the Starbucks where he collapsed before viewing Change Alley where Mr Tomlinson was initially stopped by the police cordon.
Pc Harwood, a member of the Met's territorial support group, originally escaped prosecution but faces being sacked under misconduct proceedings.
The jury, sitting at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in Fleet Street, London, was told the Crown Prosecution Service could yet review its decision not to pursue charges against officers.
Judge Peter Thornton QC, sitting as assistant deputy coroner at the central London hearing, said the cause of his death was "likely to be a controversial area".
Dr Freddy Patel's initial verdict that Mr Tomlinson died of natural causes was contradicted by a second and third pathologist, the inquest heard.
In his opening comments, Mr Thornton told the inquest: "There is likely to be controversy too about the finding of Dr Patel in the first post-mortem of the presence of fluid in the abdomen and to what extent it contained blood."
The inquest was adjourned until tomorrow.
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