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No prosecutions after family of Christopher Alder were given the wrong body

This article is over 10 years, 3 months old
Christopher Alder’s family is preparing to mark his death as new questions emerge, Janet Alder told Annette Mackin
Issue 2397
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)

Relatives of Christopher Alder are furious after being told no cops will be prosecuted for giving them the wrong body to bury. 

Christopher died in police custody in Hull in 1998. In November 2011 the Alder family was told his body had been discovered in a mortuary—11 years after they thought they had buried him. 

Instead authorities had given them the body of 77 year old Grace Kamara.

In October last year, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) claimed there was “insufficient evidence” to prosecute anyone. 

Christopher’s sister Janet, who has spent 16 years fighting for justice, launched an appeal. But last week the CPS told her that still no one would face prosecution.

“I feel sickened,” Janet told Socialist Worker. “The way my family and Christopher have been treated is inhumane. I’m not surprised, but it’s disgusting, they’ve got no compassion.”

Janet plans to hold a vigil with the Justice for Christopher Alder campaign this Saturday to mark 16 years since his death.

The latest insult from the CPS comes despite their review of the case raising worrying new questions.


 “Why have I been told 59 police officers went to look at Christopher’s frozen body?” asked Janet. “How could they not know?”

She pointed to doubts over which mortuary Christopher was taken to, and the claim that his body was discovered the day after Grace Kamara’s friend Christine Omorogie asked to see her remains.

 “It’s supposed to take four days to thaw a body” Janet said. “It doesn’t add up. I don’t think he ever was there.”

Like the family of murdered south London teenager Stephen Lawrence, Janet may have been spied on by police while she campaigned for the truth. 

Allegations emerged last year that cops spied on her while she attended the 2000 inquest into Christopher’s death. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is also investigating whether police accessed social service records belonging to Janet and Christopher.

 “This has happened because we stood up as a family,” she said. “We got the police into court. This is a backlash against me.”

Janet appealed to people to join the vigil and support the family’s fight for answers.

“I hope we get a good crowd,” she said. “It’s a proper racist system we’ve got. I grew up with it and suffered within it. Grace and Christopher were two black people—is it a coincidence it happened to them?

“Hull’s meant to be the city of culture, but it’s the city of cover-up.”

Remember Christopher Alder Vigil: Sat 5 Apr, 1pm, Outside Hull Combined Court, Lowgate, HU1 2EZ, followed by meeting in the Unison office

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