A mural painted opposite Lewisham police station in tribute to a black man who died in custody has been removed against the wishes of his "distraught" family.

Kevin Clarke, a relapsing paranoid schizophrenic, died at Lewisham hospital after being restrained by officers outside St Dunstan's College in Catford on March 9, 2018.

Earlier this month, an inquest concluded that the actions of police were "inappropriate" and contributed to his death.

The artwork, which depicted Mr Clarke at different stages of his life, was painted over on hoardings surrounding a building site yesterday, with developer Balfour Beatty leaving a notice describing it as “unauthorised.”

Kevin Clarke’s mother Wendy said: “This mural meant so much to us as a family and served as an important piece of art to raise awareness about deaths in police custody here in the UK and the pain and hurt that this causes families.

“It was such a beautiful painting.

“Now that the inquest has come to an end and we received the verdict that we were hoping for, we were finally beginning the process of grieving and now this has happened, the day after my birthday.

“I am devastated - I don’t have words.”

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The mural was organised by was by local anti-racism campaigners Adam Pugh and Sallie Foyehstreet and painted by artist Carleen De Sozer on hoardings surrounding Balfour Beatty's £375 million Lewisham Gateway development.

The developer previously stated that the mural would not be painted over, despite the fact permission was not initially granted for its installation.

A notice posted in the mural’s place on Monday informed the public that the “unauthorised” artwork had been removed “following an agreement with relevant parties.”

Adam Pugh, who has acted on behalf on the family, said that no one from Balfour Beatty or any "relevant body" attempted to contact him.

Former policeman Mr Pugh said: “The family and myself had expressly asked that if the mural were to be removed that they allow us to have the hoardings so that we could move it to a more permanent location with support of the local council.

“Something the Mayor of Lewisham was happy to help us try to facilitate.

“As the artwork which the community crowdfunded and paid for has now been permanently destroyed, we have now been denied the opportunity to relocate this artwork and the developer has gone back on their promise.

“This comes the day after Kevin’s mum Wendy’s birthday who is distraught as are the rest of the Clarke family.”