Black police pay tribute to family of hanged Telford men

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The Independent Online

Britain's black police officers have honoured the family of two black men who were found mysteriously hanged in Telford.

Britain's black police officers have honoured the family of two black men who were found mysteriously hanged in Telford.

The Black Police Association paid tribute to the relatives of Errol and Jason McGowan for fighting for the deaths to be properly investigated.

The family has been given the association's annual Community Achievement Award for their campaign to have the case reopened.

The association's retiring chairman, Inspector Paul Wilson, said: "The award was for their resilience and fortitude in terms of bringing the issues forward and raising the profile of the deaths of their relatives."

The association made a similar award last year to Neville Lawrence, the father of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered aged 18 by racists in 1993.

Errol McGowan, a builder and part-time doorman, was found dead in a house in Telford in July 1999 after a prolonged campaign of racial harassment and death threats, which were reported to police. His nephew, Jason, was found hanging from public railings six months later. The McGowan family claims the police assumed the deaths were suicides.

After the family met with Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, West Mercia police apologised and reopened the investigation. An inquest into the two deaths is expected to take place early next year.

The McGowan family made a fresh appeal yesterday for help in tracing two men who were seen by neighbours outside the house where Errol McGowan was found dead.

One man was described as white, in his late teens or early twenties, about 5ft 9in, and of medium build with short, possibly fair hair. The other man, who was in his twenties, was described as having a darker complexion and could have been mixed race or Asian. He was also around 5ft 9in and of slim build with short, dark hair.

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