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Anger at ongoing injustice of Christopher Alder’s burial

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Janet Alder spoke to Annette Mackin about the official delay in deciding whether to prosecute for her brother’s misburial and police spying on her family
Issue 2366
Janet Alder has campaigned for years for justice for her brother Christopher, who died in police custody
Janet Alder has campaigned for years for justice for her brother Christopher, who died in police custody (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has delayed by a month its decision on whether to prosecute anyone over giving Christopher Alder’s family the wrong body.

Christopher died in custody lying on the floor of a Humberside police station in 1998. Officers stood around chatting as he choked to death.

His family held a funeral for him in 2000, after his inquest. Eleven years later in 2011 they were told that the body they had buried was that of a 77 year old woman, Grace Kamara. 

The authorities had released her body instead of that of the 37 year old ex-paratrooper.

South Yorkshire police handed over a 160 page report into the scandal to the CPS, which was due to make a decision at the end of July. 

Last week the CPS announced that this has now been moved to sometime at the end of August.

Janet Alder, Christopher’s sister, is angry that the CPS has not kept the family fully informed. She told Socialist Worker, “They haven’t told me or my solicitor anything about a new date. 

“I only heard from a Daily Mail journalist that it had been put back to the end of this month. So the CPS can tell the Daily Mail but they can’t tell the family?

“They’ve not kept us informed when they have a duty to keep us informed. It’s appalling.


“It’s just more distractions from the decision. How did nobody know for 11 years that they had buried a 77 year old woman in my brother’s grave?”

Last month Humberside police admitted it had “information to suggest” that it carried out “improper surveillance”—or spied—on Janet and her family during the inquest. 

Janet believes the police had been watching her from the first time she went to the police station after Christopher died.

“In 1998 they took our records going way back to when we were in care, from day one,” she said.

“Mail was also going missing. And they followed me out of the police station the first time I went there. I was really intimidated, so I told them that I was going to get Amnesty to help us out. 

“The police officer pulled his chair over close to me and said, ‘We don’t deal with organisations, we deal with families.’ It was intimidating.

“When I left I saw a plain clothes officer following me, I went into a shop and the people there watched him until he went.

“I said, ‘I can’t believe it, my brother has just died in police custody and now they’re following me’.”

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has launched an inquiry into the revelations.

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