Socialist Worker

New injustice in Christopher Alder case as no cops will face inquiry for using his body for training

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2414

Christopher Alder died in police custody in Hull in 1998

Christopher Alder died in police custody in Hull in 1998 (Pic: Still from police CCTV footage)


Police have admitted they may have used the body of Christopher Alder for “training purposes” for years after his family believed they had buried him.

And now the cops’ watchdog has said it will not investigate the revelations.

Christopher died in custody at Hull’s Queen’s Gardens Police Station in April 1998.

In 2011 it was revealed that his body had gone unburied for over a decade and was lying in the mortuary of Hull Royal Infirmary.

An exhumation revealed that the body of 77 year old Grace Kamara had been given to the Alder family instead.

During a police investigation into the scandal one officer said she had seen the body of Christopher after his supposed funeral.

The Crown Prosecution Service told Christopher’s sister Janet that “about 800” trainee Humberside Police officers were taken into the mortuary between 1998 and 2011.

Janet told Socialist Worker, “It’s disgusting—it just shows you what they do. This is the contempt they have shown us over the years.”

Seven officers who visited the mortuary were interviewed during the investigation.

One stated they were shown Christopher’s body and another said they saw Grace Kamara’s corpse.

The inquiry failed to establish how the bodies were swapped, or who was responsible.

Identification

Yet Stuart Donald, assistant chief constable of Humberside Police, has said the visits were to train police recruits in “addressing matters such as identification”.

Janet complained about the mortuary visits to police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). She was later told that the IPCC will not investigate.

The IPCC confirmed to Socialist Worker that it was returning the matter to Humberside Police “in the circumstances”.

This latest insult to the Alder family follows years of police scandals surrounding Christopher’s death.

It is possible that cops were viewing Christopher’s body as Janet was fighting to get justice at an inquest into his death in 2000.

This is also the time when cops are alleged to have been spying on Janet. It was revealed in July last year that she had been under police surveillance.

The IPCC is conducting a criminal inquiry into the potentially “improper surveillance” operation.

Two officers who were involved in the operation, one retired and one still serving, have been questioned.

Key questions remain unanswered. If a trainee recruit could identify Christopher, how much did police know about the whereabouts of his body?

As Janet put it, “This has been a vendetta against me from the start.”


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.