Fresh investigation into student's death after he was restrained by 11 police officers in Beckenham hospital (From News Shopper)
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Fresh investigation into student's death after he was restrained by 11 police officers in Beckenham hospital
THE original investigation into the death of Olaseni Lewis at Bethlem Royal Hospital has been deemed unlawful, paving the way for a fresh investigation.
The 23-year-old, a successful IT graduate, died after prolonged restraint by 11 police officers at the hospital in Monks Orchard Road, Beckenham, on August 31 2010.
He was pronounced dead four days later, on September 4.
Exactly three years after his death, the High Court has quashed the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)’s original investigation into his death.
Mr Lewis, who lived in South Norwood, had voluntarily admitted himself as a patient to the mental health hospital after he felt uncharacteristically odd and agitated.
Hours later officers were called to restrain him following a disturbance.
He was restrained three times - first by hospital staff and then by the 11 officers - for 45 minutes before his collapse into a coma.
The original IPCC investigation looked to rule out the possibility that Mr Lewis’ death might have involved criminal wrongdoing on the part of the officers involved in the restraint.
As a result the relevant officers were treated as witnesses rather than the subjects of the investigation.
Mr Lewis’ mother, Ajibola Lewis, said: "We are relieved that the way has finally been cleared for a proper investigation into Seni’s death, even if it comes three years late.
"We have had to tread a long and tortuous path to get here, which would have been altogether unnecessary if the IPCC and the Met Police had been willing to fulfil their responsibilities under the law."
Deborah Coles, co-director of Inquest, a charity which provides advice to bereaved families on contentious deaths, has been working with the family of Mr Lewis since his death.
She added: "This is obviously welcome news for Seni’s family who have been battling tirelessly for a decent and thorough investigation into how Seni came to his death.
"It is vital that the new investigation is conducted rigorously and robustly and that any wrongdoing is identified and dealt with appropriately.
"We can only hope the IPCC has learned from this whole sorry experience so that no other family will ever have to go through this again."
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