On April 1, 1998: Christopher Alder, a 37 year old black father of two, previously decorated for his services as an ex paratrooper, died while in police custody at Queens Gardens Police Station, under extremely suspicious circumstances.
Christopher had been enjoying a night out at a Hull night club when a scuffle ensued involving him and another club goer. He banged his head during the dispute and was taken by ambulance to Hull Royal Infirmary Hospital for treatment. While at the hospital the police arrived to question Christopher about the events back at the club and arrested him - supposedly to avoid a breach of the peace - even though he hadn't committed any crime. It's claimed that the police were pushing him around with little regard of his cerebral irritation, (leading to pain and symptoms of being drunk), as a result of the the club incident. According to staff at the hospital the police handcuffed Christopher and then forcefully took him out to the awaiting van with little reasoning behind doing so.
He was fully conscious at this time and compliant with the officers wishes. However, on arrival at the police station, which is only five minutes away from the hospital, Christopher is said to have been dragged almost unconscious into the lobby area and left on the floor. CCTV footage shows how he remained there, in a heap with his trousers down to his knees and hands cuffed behind his back for over 10 minutes. It can also be seen and heard on the recording that he is fighting for his breath during this time while the officers laugh and joke with eachother saying he is 'putting it on'.
Approximately 13 minutes into his stay at the police station Christopher died from choking on his own blood and vomit; only then did the arresting officers show any concern by putting him into the recovery position and calling for assistance in an apparent effort to cover their own backs.
15 months into an investigation regarding Christopher's death , (during which time the officers involved were suspended still receiving full pay), the Director of Public Prosecutions advised that; Pc Matthew Barr, Pc Neil Blakey, Pc Nigel Dawson and Sergeant John Dunn, (the officers involved), were to be charged with misconduct in a public office. In early 2000, an inquest into Christopher Alder's death found that the father of two had been killed unlawfully. Finally in 2002, after a failed appeal by the officers regarding the inquests findings, all five officers went on trial at Teesside Crown Court facing charges of manslaughter and misconduct in public office..
During this trial only 11 minutes of a total 120 hours of CCTV footage recorded of Christopher's stay at the police station was shown in what his sister, Janet Alder, describes as a baised hearing where lots of vital evidence was excluded. It didn't take long before Mr Justice Roderick Evans ordered the jury to acquit the officers of all charges stating that there was conflicting medical evidence about why Mr Alder became unconscious and what had killed him.
In June 2003 the officers were cleared of neglect of duty allegations and disciplinary processes were halted. Shockingly by late December 2004 four of the five officers had been allowed to retire on medical grounds, and although a subsequent Independent Police Complaints Commission review of the events leading up to Christopher's death was carried out, his family and friends remain distressed and still no closer to knowing who is responsible for the death of their loved one.
A major factor affecting the validity of this trials findings is that the forensic team involved in the court hearing were not able to gather relevent evidence. The vehicle Christopher was transported to the station in had been cleaned, his clothes destroyed, and a tooth (found to be missing at the postmortem) thrown away before forensic testing was completed.
All of these actions go against legal procedure and hindered the forensic witnesses capability to present unbiased information to the judge - information that is potentially highly relevent in the persuit of unraveling the exact events leading to Christophers demise.
Based on the fact that these actions clearly obscured a fair trial, and in light of the new evidence contained in the unused CCTV footage which strongly suggests that Christopher may have died due to an assault during transportation; WE DEMAND A RE-TRIAL OF ALL THE OFFICERS INVOLVED, AND, AN EXTENSIVE PUBLIC INQUIRY.
Christopher's family want answers, answers which thus far appear to have been deliberately avoided throughout the legal procedures exploring what actually happened. By signing this petition you are not only supporting Christophers family, but others who's lives are being torn apart by corrupt legal systems administrated by people who seem to believe they are above the very legislature they sternly uphold. Christopher could easily have been any one of us - and without people to stand up and have their say regarding injustices like his and his family's - the chance of me, you, or a member of our family facing a similar dilema in the future remains higher than you may think.
Thanks for your time and support!
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