Relief after truth about custody death emerges

Lenny McCourtby: The Northern Echo  
published: 31st October 2012

The family of a grandfather who died in police custody today spoke of their relief at the truth finally emerging at an inquest into his death – that he had died while being transported in a police van.

Relatives spoke after members of a jury said they believed Lenny McCourt, who had been pepper sprayed during his arrest, died in transit on the short journey between his home in Ash Crescent, in Seaham and Peterlee Police Station, County Durham.

Mr McCourt’s sister-in-law Tracey McCourt, speaking on behalf of the family following the 11-day hearing in Crook, said: “They are the best words that could have been said. Because it is what we have always believed – that Lenny died in the police van.

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Report calls for effective learning from inquests

Police Cell Victimsprovided by: INQUEST
published: 1 October 2012

A week after the appointment of the Chief Coroner, HHJ Peter Thornton, and at a time of renewed interest in the coronial system following the publication of the report of the Hillsborough panel, INQUEST launches a groundbreaking new report ‘Learning from Death in Custody Inquests: A New Framework for Action and Accountability’.

The report highlights the serious flaws in the learning process following an inquest into a death in custody or following contact with state agents.

In the report INQUEST’s co-directors Deborah Coles and Helen Shaw argue that the absence of a mechanism to capture and act upon the rich seam of data available from well conducted and costly inquests leads to unnecessary further loss of life.

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