Death of asylum-seeker may lead to charges: Director of Public Prosecutions considers action against prison officers following verdict of unlawful killing
Omasase Lumumba, the 32-year- old nephew of Patrice, the murdered Zairean president, died in a punishment cell at Pentonville jail while being forcibly restrained and stripped by up to seven prison officers.
A jury at St Pancras Coroners' Court decided that Mr Lumumba died as a result of 'improper methods and excessive force in the process of control and restraint'. The inquest verdict came two days before the death of Joy Gardner, who collapsed while being forcibly detained by police and immigration officials in Hornsey, north London. Both cases raise serious concerns about restraint techniques.
After the verdict, Mr Lumumba's family, outraged that he had survived imprisonment and torture in his native country to die in a British jail, called for a public inquiry.
Vesna Djuovic, the pathologist, had found there was a 'strong possibility' that Mr Lumumba had suffered an acute cardiac arrest following a prolonged struggle against restraint. A less likely option was asphyxiation.
As well as highlighting concerns over his treatment at Pentonville, the verdict also raised questions about government policy which allows asylum-seekers to be held in jail as though they were criminals.
Matthew Davies, the solicitor for the family, said yesterday: 'The test for unlawful killing is the same as that for manslaughter. If the DPP (Barbara Mills) does not review this case and take action against the prison officers justice will not have been done.'
Before the inquest, the DPP had decided that no charges should be brought against any of those involved.
However, Mrs Mills is now reviewing that decision in the light of the inquest verdict. She has sought a full transcript of the hearing which heard evidence from a witness that officers had kicked Mr Lumumba. The man was not interviewed as part of the prison's internal inquiry into the affair.
Pentonville was listed by the Prison Reform Trust as among the five jails most likely to employ physical restraints on prisoners - such as canvas jackets, bodybelts, handcuffs, ankle straps and leather wrist straps.
Yesterday the Prison Service said its lawyers were still studying the case. John Sutcliffe, assistant secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, said any review should be carried out as speedily as possible. There had already been a police inquiry which was referred to the DPP who decided there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges, he said.
The officers involved are continuing their normal duties at the jail.
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Kenya bus attack: Al-Shabaab militants slaughter 28 non-Muslims who failed to recite Koran
That Sugar Film director Damon Gameua receives shocking diagnosis after going on healthy sugar diet for just 60 days
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...