Gardner inquiry plea goes to No 10

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The Independent Online
MYRNA SIMPSON, mother of the deportee Joy Gardner, who died after a struggle with police officers, yesterday delivered a letter to 10 Downing Street, asked for a public inquiry into the case.

Mrs Simpson, supported by three north London MPs - Bernie Grant, Barbara Roche and Jeremy Corbyn - who have all called for a public inquiry into the case, said afterwards that she hoped 'justice will be done'.

Her daughter, aged 40, died in hospital 10 days ago, five days after losing consciousness at her home in Hornsey, north London. Police attempting to enforce a deportation order used a body belt and an adhesive gag in order to restrain her. Pathologists agree she died from lack of oxygen due to suffocation.

Mrs Simpson said: 'I hope there will be a public inquiry to tell how my daughter died - that everybody that is involved will speak the truth and nothing but the truth and that justice will be done.'

Mrs Roche, MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said the letter gave the background to the case and asked for an independent public inquiry. 'The investigation has to be in public - a properly independent public inquiry under the chairmanship of a High Court judge.' Tonight, a special meeting of Haringey council will discuss the case. The Home Office, which has rejected the inquiry calls, is conducting a joint review of deportation procedures with the Metropolitan Police. The force has suspended the three officers involved and its specialist deportation squad.

According to senior Metropolitan Police sources, the review is expected to examine how the force became involved in such cases and whether there is scope to increase the role of immigration officials, who seek police support when deportees are known to be violent.

Senior officers question whether it is right that it should automatically be police who accompany deportees on lengthy flights. Particularly disruptive detainees arrested outside London are also handed over to the Metropolitan Police for their flight home.