Dexter Bristol: Windrush migrant's death to get second inquest amid Home Office dispute

Concerns over status meant 57-year-old did not seek NHS help before his death

Tim Wyatt
Friday 25 January 2019 18:23
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Mother of Windrush man Dexter Bristol who died after months of immigration problems seeks justice

The death of a Windrush migrant who died suddenly after being told he was living in Britain illegally should be investigated at a second inquest, the High Court has ruled.

Dexter Bristol, who came to the UK from Grenada in 1968 when he was eight-years-old, was 57 when he died last March after collapsing and suffering heart failure outside his home.

The original inquest into his death ended in a row between Mr Bristol’s family and the coroner, Dr William Dolman, after he refused to hear evidence on the role played by the Home Office and stress caused by the immigration status dispute.

In August he ruled Mr Bristol died of natural causes.

After challenging the ruling, Mr Bristol’s family have secured a High Court ruling quashing his verdict and ordering a second inquest.

Mr Bristol's mother, Sentina Bristol, welcomed the decision to hold a “full and fearless investigation” through a fresh inquest.

“It was terrible what happened at the inquest into Dexter’s death,” she told The Guardian. “I’m happy that the high court has quashed the decision and I hope that the new inquest will look at everything properly.”

After the Home Office ruled he was living in the UK illegally, Mr Bristol lost his cleaning job and was denied benefits.

He did not use any NHS services for almost two years before his death because of concerns over his uncertain status.

A lawyer who was trying to secure Mr Bristol a passport before he died said in a witness statement he had often complained of feeling unwell because of the stress of contesting the Home Office’s decision.

After Dr Dolman declined to include the Home Office as an interested party in the inquest, Mr Bristol’s mother and other relatives walked out of the hearing.

Speaking outside court at the time, Mrs Bristol said: “The coroner was very rude... no sympathy for anyone... I feel disappointed. I feel same just like when I lost my son. The feelings I had then, I have them now.”

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No date has yet been set for the second inquest, but Mrs Bristol’s lawyers have asked it be started as soon as possible.

The family recently met the home secretary Sajid Javid, who told them there were lessons to be learned from Mr Bristol’s case.

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