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Anorak | Ian Tomlinson Death Inquest: Was He Drunk And ‘Vacant When The Police Attacked?

Ian Tomlinson Death Inquest: Was He Drunk And ‘Vacant When The Police Attacked?

by | 30th, March 2011

THE televised death of Ian Tomlinson has a new episode. A new video shows his final moments.

The death inquest into how Ian Tomlinson came to die at the G20 protests has begun. Mr Tomlinson died on 1 April 2009. The jury, sitting at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in Fleet Street, London, will review the evidence.

Judge Peter Thornton QC, sitting as assistant deputy coroner at the central London hearing, says that Dr Freddy Patel’s initial verdict that Mr Tomlinson died of natural causes will be examined. Dr Patel’s opinion was contradicted by pathologists Nat Cary and Kenneth Shorrock who said Tomlinson died of internal bleeding. Says the judge:

“There is likely to be controversy too about the finding of Dr Patel in the first post-mortem of the presence of fluid in the abdomen and to what extent it contained blood. But I will say no more at this stage.”

News is that before the newspaper seller died he appeared “very drunk“. He smelled of “intoxicants” and “was staring vacantly towards the demonstration“. So says a former City of London officer.

So. Why did a policeman hit Tomlinson round the legs with his baton and push him to the ground? Why didn’t the police take his arm and walk him to a place of safety? How did a man who worked selling the Evening Standard in Fish Street come to die? Why did police strike a man who was not offering resistance and whose hands were in his pockets?

Says the former police officer Andrew Brown:

“Throughout the day there had been a lot of people who had been very angry towards the police. But he just appeared to be oblivious to the fact that the riot was taking place.”

Only, Mr Barry Smith, a colleague of Mr Tomlinson, says the passerby was not drunk

“I wouldn’t have him sitting there drunk. Even if he had a drink he was polite – a very polite man.”

Although he had, reportedly, earlier said that he “could tell Ian had had a few drinks, maybe more than normal“, adding that Mr Tomlinson was “slightly unsteady on his feet“.

“Ian Tomlinson was not a protester, he was selling newspapers – the Evening Standard – in Fish Street.”

Pc Simon Harwood wielded the baton. He will face a charge of gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing that could see him dismissed by Scotland Yard but this will not take place until the inquest has ended.

The Press Association sums the action up well:

CCTV images, police helicopter footage and handheld video recordings showed Mr Tomlinson cutting a lonely figure as he staggered away from a police cordon after being hit with a baton on the fringes of the anti-summit demonstration in London on 1 April, 2009.

The footage showed Mr Tomlinson, in his “distinctive” Millwall FC T-shirt, gesturing to police and appearing angry after being sent tumbling to the ground. After receiving treatment, he was seen being carried through the police cordon. He was pronounced dead 40 minutes later.

In court:

One family member walked out as Mr Tomlinson was seen staggering about 100 yards and collapsing in Cornhill, near St Michael’s Alley.

PC Simon Harwood, of the Met’s territorial support group, originally escaped prosecution but faces the sack under misconduct proceedings. The hearing continues.

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PC Simon Harwood accompanied by his wife Helen leaves the City of Westminster Magistrates Court, London.



Posted: 30th, March 2011 | In: Key Posts, Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink