Socialist Worker

Ian Tomlinson unlawfully killed

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2250

The jury at the inquest into the death of Ian Tomlinson had just ruled that he was unlawfully killed as Socialist Worker went to press.

PC Simon Harwood, a member of the Territorial Support Group (TSG), pushed Ian to the ground as police cleared Royal Exchange Buildings during the G20 protests on 1 April 2009.

The jury took just over three hours to come to their verdict, which ruled that Ian complied with police instructions and offered no threat when Harwood struck him with a baton and shoved him.

Ian Tomlinson’s family, who have been at the inquest every day, shouted “Yes” as the verdict was read out.

The jury said that Ian was fatally injured as the result of a baton strike and a push by an officer that caused him to fall.

The jury said both the baton strike and the push were “unreasonable”.

To deliver a verdict of unlawful killing the jury must be satisfied “beyond reasonable doubt”, the same as in criminal trials.

The inquest heard contradictory evidence on the cause of death.

Disgraced pathologist Freddy Patel, who conducted the first post-mortem examination, claimed Ian died from a heart attack and that his arteries were about 80 percent blocked.

Patel’s examination dismissed the three litres of fluid found in Ian’s stomach, which was heavily blood stained, and later changed his notes to further downgrade its importance.

The jury agreed with Dr Nat Cary and a host of other experts who challenged Patel’s evidence. They said that Ian died from internal bleeding caused by “blunt force trauma” as he hit the ground hard from PC Harwood’s push.

The CPS has now promised a 'thorough review' of the evidence which they previously found insufficient for investigation.

The Director of Public Prosecutions will now be under huge pressure to overturn his previous decision—and press criminal charges against Harwood.

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