Sean Rigg


RESIGNATION DENIED 25.09.14 Police officer (PC Birks) in the Metropolitan Police, applies for judicial maintain his suspension from duty...the claim is full public judgement here...

Family of Sean Rigg call on the Met Police Commisioner to withdraw his acceptance resignation of officer involved in restraint of Sean Rigg.....

Bereaved relatives criticise police watchdog over deaths in custody....

FAMILY PRESS RELEASE 09.12.13 This Press Statement is in response to the IPCC’s announcement today to re-open the investigation into the death of Sean Rigg.....

Police watchdog collecting fresh evidence into officer's conduct - The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has reopened its investigation into the controversial death of Sean Rigg while in police custody......

Your Local GUARDIAN 05.08.13
Police watchdog review into whether Sean Rigg police should be disciplined.....

BBC RADIO LONDON 19.05.13 Dotun Adebayo show
BBC Radio London spotlights BMH UK's concerns on use of control and restraint......

IPCC 17.05.13
FULL Independent External Review Report - HERE

CHUKA UMUNNA MP 17.05.13 Commenting on the independent review of the IPCC’s investigation into the death of Sean Rigg, Chuka Umunna MP said:The findings in this review completely vindicate the dogged determination Sean Rigg’s family have shown in getting to the bottom of what happened to him, and the review supports the serious criticism that has been made of the IPCC’s investigation......

BBC NEWS 17.05.13
SEAN RIGG REPORT CRITICISES THE IPCC The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) made a series of mistakes in investigating the death of a man in custody, a review has found......

IPCC 17.05.13
IPCC publishes findings of independent external review of investigation in Sean Rigg’s death......

Study criticises Met for miscommunication, poor training and excessive use of force when dealing with mentally ill people......

An independent report has found that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) must improve its response to mental health to reduce the likelihood of deaths or serious injury occurring in the future......

IPCC 27.03.13
3 POLICE OFFICERS ARRESTED IPCC investigators make three arrests as part of on-going investigation into evidence given at inquest into Sean Rigg’s death.......

PANORAMA 19.11.12
As the Independent Police Complaints Commission is handed the investigation into Hillsborough, the biggest policing scandal in UK history, reporter Mark Daly investigates whether the body that polices the police is fit for purpose. Panorama hears from families who say they have been failed by the police watchdog and examines growing concerns that it does not have sufficient power or the independence to hold the police to account.......

IRR 01.11.12
On Saturday 27 October, over 500 people gathered to march from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street for the annual United Families and Friends Campaign remembrance procession for those that have died in state custody......

THE VOICE 28.10.12
Grieving families and campaigners marched to Downing Street yesterday (Oct 27), calling for greater action over deaths in custody.......

BMH UK 27.10.12
Hundreds of families from across the country and supporters came out again this year for the 14th annual United Friends and Families Campaign against deaths in custody.....

UFFC 22.10.12
Press Release.
Death in custody families take their demands to Parliament
Screening & Press Conference
11.00am Friday 26th October 2012
Room W1, Off Westminster Hall, House of Commons, SW1A 0AA

BMH UK 08.10.12
The piloting of CCTV cameras in the back of police vans in the wake of the damning findings of the inquest into the death of mental health service user Sean Rigg, begins today in with four police vans operating from Brixton police station.....

BBC NEWS 28.09.12
Kurt Barling reports: A coroner in London has said there is a risk to the safety of mental health patients who come into contact with police.Coroner Andrew Harris made the claim while delivering recommendations to the Metropolitan Police following the death of Sean Rigg.The 40-year-old died in Brixton police station four years ago and an inquest last month found officers used an "unsuitable" level of force in restraining him which resulted in his death......

A DOCUMENTARY film about the controversial death of Sean Rigg whilst in police custody is to have its premiere at the 2012 West Midlands Human Rights Film Festival in Birmingham next week....

BMH UK 16.08.12
A public memorial meeting to mark the fourth anniversary of the death of mental health service user, Sean Rigg, who lost his life in police custody in 2008, will be held at Lambeth Town Hall on Tuesday 21st August 2012 at 6.30pm....

INQUEST 15.08.12
IPCC commissions independent review of its investigation into the death of Sean Rigg...

‘Lessons Will Be Learned’ After the Death of Sean Rigg, Say Police...

Jury brings damning narrative verdict...

Who Polices The Police?...

CHANNEL 4 14.06.12
Custody death inquest told that victim was 'fit and healthy'...

ITV NEWS 14.06.12
Sean Rigg's sister gives evidence at inquest...

National Fathers Day Vigil marks deaths in custody...

7 week Inquest trial begins at Southwark Coroners court...

BMH UK 14.05.12
Desecration of Sean Rigg Memorial and Brixton Police Station Condemned...

BMH UK 03.05.12
Lack of confidence in IPCC calls for watchdog to be shut down

NEWSNIGHT 30.01.12
10 minute feature on Sean Rigg's Case... view from 30:37

UFFC 20.1.12
No:10 e-Petition
100,000 'Yes We Can'

BMH UK 31.10.11
Outrage at deaths in custody march kettled by TSG police....

UFFC 28.10.11

Let there be justice for those who have died in police custody The deaths pile up each year, and it has been a shocking 42 years since any officers have been found guilty....

The sister of a talented musician who died in police custody has urged the black community to support a public meeting about the issue.....

Serious concerns have emerged about faulty CCTV at one of Britain's most notorious police stations which was at the centre of the summer riots and a death in custody scandal......

Thousands expected to attend London deaths in custody rally next month....

BMH UK 28.10.10
UFFC march on Downing Street demands an end to complacency around deaths in custody....

BMH UK 27.08.10
Sean Rigg memorial pushes deaths in custody up the community’s agenda. Last Saturday's sombre affair saw hundreds of people come out in support of the Rigg family who led a candle lit vigil outside the police station where the musician and songwriter spent his last moments....

On 21 August 2008, our brother Sean Rigg, was arrested by police, “restrained” and transported to Brixton police station in the back of a van. He was removed from the van in a collapsed state and died a short while after whilst in the station yard. He never entered the custody suite door....

BMH UK 16.08.10
Second memorial for service user Sean Rigg set for 21 August 2010. A candle lit vigil to mark the second year since the tragic death of a mental health service user Sean Rigg is set to take place outside Brixton Police station at 5.00pm on Saturday....

BMH UK 08.04.10
IPCC fails to inspire public confidence. The Home Affairs Committee has slammed the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for failing to inspire the public's confidence in their handling of complaints against the police...

House of Commons 07.04.10
Home Office Affairs Committee REPORT. 'The work of the Independent Police Complaints Commission' Published on 7 April 2010 by authority of the House of Commons

BBC 01.04.10
Ian Tomlinson's death marked at first anniversary vigil... "Everybody saw what happened on camera," said Ms Rigg-David, who asked why it had taken "so long" to bring about a legal case against the officer involved. She said there was a need to bring about a prosecution for one reason in particular: "It will show police officers that they aren't above the law."

House of Commons 23.02.10
The work of the IPCC, evidence session. TRANSCRIPT. Home Office Affairs Committee, Inquest, Rigg Family Member, John Crawley and Nick Hardwick.

YouTube 24.08.09
In loving memory of Sean Rigg 1 year on

Guardian 21.08.09
His family, who have been given contradictory statements about the existence of CCTV footage of the events leading up to Sean's death, tell the Guardian about their campagin to find out what actually happened....

Guardian 21.08.09
Family claim cover-up over death in police custody....

Wandsworth Guardian 20.08.09
Vigil for Tooting man dead in custody....

Evening Standard 19.08.09
His family, who have been given contradictory statements about the existence of CCTV footage of the events leading up to Sean's death, tell the Guardian about their campagin to find out what actually happened....

Channel 4 23.05.09
Police custody death: family's anger. The family of a man who died in police custody tell us why they think the independent police investigation into his death has been so flawed. Emily Reuben reports....

Indymedia 23.05.09
Hundreds of folks take to the streets to protest against police violence, naked brutality and killings in custody, on the United Campaign against Police Violence's first national demonstration – STOP POLICE VIOLENCE! KETTLE NEW SCOTLAND YARD!...

Indymedia 11.04.09
Sean Rigg's sisters attend and speak at the Ian Tomlinson Memorial March, who died minutes after being brutally assaulted by a policeman at the G20 protests...

BMH UK 27.03.09
Vigil for the service user, Sean Rigg, 40,who tragically lost his life after he was taken into police custody...

Apology to family for misleading wording of press releases...

New Nation 12.01.09
How did this man Die?

Guardian (Borough News) 8.01.09
Why did Sean die in custody?

BMH UK 6.01.09
Community Police Consultative Group for Lambeth to hear questions on death of service user Sean Rigg...

The Independent 4.01.09
Family hit out at IPCC over death in custody...

ITN 25.10.08
March against custody deaths...

BBC 25.10.08
Custody death families in protest

BMH UK 15.10.08
Service user Sean Rigg, buried on eve of WHO report on Europe's mental health care

BMH UK 3.10.08
Funeral of former service user Sean Rigg sends message that police cells are not 'places of safety'

BMH UK 9.09.08
Tragic death of former service user, Sean Rigg, sends shockwaves through the community...

WRP 25.08.08
Brixton custody death anger...

BBC 24.08.08
Watchdog sees custody death CCTV

BBC 23.08.08
Family seek custody death answers...

BBC 22.08.08
Assault suspect dies in custody...

IPCC 22.08.08
IPCC is appealing for witnesses to a disturbance in the Atkins Road and Weir Road area

IPCC 22.08.08
IPCC investigates Brixton death in custody


The Family seek answers and justice for this tragic death in police custody....

Sean’s sudden and untimely death has come as a shock to the family. On 21st Aug ‘08 he was arrested and restrained by Brixton police - he died very shortly after...Why? INQUEST JURY VERDICT HERE

A physically healthy man in mental crisis comes into contact with the police and dies within a short period of doing so, possibly whilst still in police custody. In those circumstances, we his family are entitled to an explanation of how and why he was detained; how he was restrained; and what happened in those crucial minutes between him being forced in a police van and his arriving at Brixton Police Station. However, nearly 5 months after Sean’s death, we are still to receive even a basic account of what happened on 21 August 2008. The officers who arrested Sean are still at work and have not yet been required to give any account of their actions. They have not been prevented from conferring over their version of events during that time. They have not to date in fact, been inter-viewed at all.

This is in stark contrast to what would have happened if a group of private individuals had bundled someone into a van and that person had subsequently died.

Sean’s family are not asking for special treatment: they are asking for what any loving family would ask for in relation to a relative who had died in police custody, namely a rigorous, impartial and transparent search for the truth.


Family Concerns 5 May 09

1. The manner in which Sean’s family were treated immediately following his death;
The Police FLOs tried to get the family to sign a form consenting to the release of Sean’s medical records. When asked by s family member, whether signing the form would mean the police could get access to Sean’s records, the FLOs failed to respond adequately, instead saying: “why would they want to?” and eventually indicating that the form would allow the police access to Sean’s records.
They told the family they would 'drip feed' information to them in the ensuing hours about how Sean had died. After the FLOs left, the family never saw or heard from them again.

2. Family actively discouraged from seeing Sean;
When a distraught family member asked the police FLO's whether they would need to go and identify Sean they were told that they could not identify his body as he was “sealed off” When they then asked how it could be known that it was really Sean, the FLOs offered to show them Sean’s passport.

2. Sean was not formally identified before the autopsy;
early the next morning a family member contacted the Coroner’s Office to try and get access to Sean’s body as at this stage the family could not even confirm that Sean was dead.  The Coroner’s Office told that the family would be able to view Sean’s body after the post mortem. They were told that the post mortem would conclude at about 5pm on 22 August, at which point they would ring the family. In fact, no call was made. When the family rang the Coroner’s Office they just got an answer-phone. After many hours of disconcerted and irate phone calls to various authorities, the family were told they could only see Sean the following Tuesday (5 days after Sean had died). More calls were made including visits to Brixton Police station, the family were eventually told they could see Sean the following morning after the autopsy (2 days after Sean had died)

3. Family distress at seeing Sean
At the mortuary, the family were only allowed to see Sean’s body from behind a glass screen. They eventually persuaded the staff to remove the padlocks and pole and squeezed around the side of the room in order to see Sean properly. The family were horrified and shocked at seeing injuries they were clearly not informed about. Right from the beginning, therefore, they were highly suspicious as to how Sean had died and the manner in which the matter was being dealt.

4. The failure to investigate the death in a rigorous manner and to the same standard as a criminal investigation
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Ramsahai v The Netherlands [2007] ECHR 393, 15 May 2007 made clear that,

“in order to be ‘effective’ as this expression is to be understood in the context of Article 2 of the Convention, an investigation into a death that engages the responsibility of a Contracting Party under that Article must firstly be adequate. That is, it must be capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible. This is not an obligation of result, but one of means. The authorities must have taken the reasonable steps available to them to secure the evidence concerning the incident. Any deficiency in the investigation which undermines its ability to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators will risk falling foul of this standard” (para 324).

We draw your attention to the following specific examples of the ways in which the IPCC have failed to carry out an immediate and rigorous inquiry capable of leading to the identification and punishment of those responsible:

  • The IPCC failed to seal off the scene of Sean’s arrest and restraint.
    Chris Patridge, the senior investigator at the time indicated that this was because the IPCC considered that the scene would already have been contaminated. they were given this information by Brixton Police Officers. Given that the IPCC were informed of the death on a couple of hours after the arrest; and given that it is unlikely that anyone walked across the area on which Sean was arrested during that time, we do not consider this reason to be in any way adequate.
  • The IPCC failed to seize all CCTV immediately and in fact failed to identify all relevant CCTV
    until representations were made on two separate occasions by this firm to Chris Patridge to the effect that the family were certain that there was another camera. Chris Patridge denied this and said that he had sent an investigator down to the police station to check. It was only when we asked for a map of all CCTV cameras in the station that Chris Patridge informed us that there was another camera. According to the CCTV report, the external CCTV cameras were not reviewed until 16 September 2008, nearly a month after Sean’s death.
  • The IPCC refused to interview officers immediately as would have happened had Sean come to harm at the hands of members of the public. Instead, you allowed the police to decide the form in which they gave initial statements.
  • The IPCC failed to interview police officers within a reasonable period of time.
    The family sent a police complaint letter on 12 October 2008 as, 3 months after Sean’s death, the officers had still not been interviewed. The family cannot help but contrast this with the situation in the Ian Tomlinson case where the police officer was interviewed as soon as media pressure had been exerted.
  • The IPCC have failed to interview the 999 call handlers over 9 months after Sean’s death
    when inevitably memories will have faded; people will have had ample opportunity to collude;
  • The IPCC have failed to take any steps to prevent the officers and civilian all handlers involved from colluding. As you know, it is not unlawful – and is in fact common practice - for officers to discuss their statements after a death in custody or other serious incident. The failure to interview the officers within a reasonable period of time and/or to take any other step to prevent them from colluding amounts to a significant failure and in our view undermines the credibility of the statements provided by the police. This cannot assist either party.
  • The IPCC failed to get a full statement from a key witness within a reasonable period of time.
    It is totally unacceptable that such a key statement should not have been taken immediately (we assume the witness was identified fairly soon after 21 August 2008); and that it should have then not been considered by Chris Patridge until 6 weeks after it was taken, despite him having been alerted to its existence.
  • The IPCC have failed to identify and carry out crucial investigative work.
    For example: Despite our having made representations on several occasions as to the significance of whether officers knew that the relevant CCTV cameras were working, the IPCC have refused to make this part of the investigation; Despite the family raising concerns as to whether Sean’s death might have been restraint-related, to our knowledge no restraint expert has been instructed.
  • Lack of independence/understanding

    The IPCC have shown an inability or unwillingness to consider the facts from the position of the family; and to properly consider the possibility that the police officers involved may be guilty of wilful misconduct.

    This has been reflected particularly in the following things:

  • The fact that the initial post mortem was carried out before Sean was formally identified by his family; with several police officers present; and with the briefing to the pathologist being given for an ex-MPS officer and possibly serving officers.

  • The refusal to interview the officers who arrested Sean immediately under criminal caution;

  • The refusal to suspect police officers of any wrong-doing unless there is conclusive evidence. In a response to a list of family questions put to the IPCC, The new senior investigator, Colin Dewar states: “Evidential matters were apparent at an early stage of the investigation but there was nothing to suggest any wrong doing by the officers and so it was not intended that they would be interviewed under caution at that time.” There was, however, a dead man with injuries to his face which the family had seen and who had, until his contact with Brixton police, been physically very healthy.

  • The IPCC’s policy of agreeing with the Police Federation the format of police interviews;

  • Chris Patridge’s (Senior investigator at the time) refusal to listen to family’s concerns about the instruction of ex Police officer as the CCTV expert;

5. Formal complaint aganst the IPCC's senior investigator
Sean’s family consider it deeply concerning that despite the IPCC having been alerted to the failures of Mr Patridge, the former senior investigator, no disciplinary action has been taken. Mr Patridge is therefore presumably working on other serious and important investigations.

Sean’s family therefore were forced to make a formal complaint against Mr Patridge in respect of his handling of the investigation, which in our minds has damaged this investigation into Sean's death.
We deem it to be neither independent, fair, competent or robust.


Family Concerns 10 Jan 09

1. Scene of arrest not sealed off
Despite the fact that the IPCC were alerted to the incident shortly after Sean’s death. The investigator dealing with the case at the time considered that there was no point in sealing off the area as it had already been contaminated. However, we understand that the area where Sean would have been arrested and restrained is seldom visited

2. Crucial CCTV missing
The existence of the camera and the fact of its not working were only admitted after repeated representations being made to the IPCC that such a camera existed. Similarly, the IPCC only agreed to make the disappearance of the CCTV part of the terms of reference following representations on behalf of the family. The IPCC indicated that they would report back on the CCTV issue by the end of 2008 but we are still waiting for their report.

3. Criminal investigation
Despite the manner of Sean’s death, the IPCC are refusing to treat the whole matter as a criminal investigation. Nearly 5 months after Sean’s death, no statements had been taken from the officers involved and no explanation has been put forward as to what happened in the police van on the way to the station.
The fact that there was no CCTV in the van is a separate concern.

4. Police interviews under caution
The IPCC have refused to interview the officers involved under caution in relation to the whole incident, despite representations being made as to why not inter-viewing them under caution could jeopardise a future criminal or disciplinary case. The IPCC appear to be suggesting that they cannot interview the officers unless the family withdraw their formal complaint against the officers.


protests and demonstrations