MEDIA RELEASE – Kelvin Igweani: Family responds to inquest conclusion of ‘lawful killing’ by Thames Valley police 24 April 2023
24 April 2023
Kelvin Igweani: Family responds to inquest conclusion of ‘lawful killing’ by Thames Valley police
This media release is by Birnberg Peirce solicitors
Before HM Assistant Coroner Dr Sean Cummings
Milton Keynes Coroner Court
3 April – 19 April 2023
An inquest jury has found that Kelvin Igweani, aged 24, was suffering from a mental health episode and was lawfully killed by Thames Valley Police on 26 June 2021.
While many other elements of the case have been covered by the media, Kelvin’s family wish to highlight the challenges they and Kelvin faced in accessing mental health support in an escalating crisis shortly before the incidents leading to his death.
From April 2021, Kelvin’s family recognised that his mental health was rapidly deteriorating. They contacted services including the police, 111 and their GP surgery to support Kelvin with his mental health challenges. The family faced continuous barriers to securing support for him and at all times there was a lack of signposting.
Just four days before Kelvin was shot, he again personally sought help from his former GP surgery, recognising his mental health was deteriorating. Instead of being directed to where he could get help, he was told he was no longer registered with that GP surgery.
Neither Kelvin or his mother were told of any appropriate mental health services they could contact that could offer the support Kelvin needed at that crucial time. The inquest heard evidence which reflected the family’s and Kelvin’s own experience around the limitations in accessing mental health support.
The family would like to make clear that Kelvin had no criminal record and had never been in trouble with police. Toxicological evidence heard at the inquest found that there was no alcohol or drugs in Kelvin’s system at the time of his death.
Among the jury’s findings were that, although Kelvin was lawfully killed, prior to the incident, evidence showed he was suffering from undiagnosed mental ill health which had been deteriorating over several months.
The mother of Kelvin Igweani said: “I tried several times, exploring different avenues to get my son the help he needed. Instead, I was faced with restrictions masked as GDPR or with the response that my son was not registered with a GP. I was never signposted to the appropriate services that could help my son.
The police knew that Kelvin was in the midst of a mental health crisis, which they made clear in their evidence. My son was shot at four times, two bullets struck him as his hands were open. He was Tasered a second time, punched several times in the face, throttled by one officer whilst the other held my son down.
Then, one of the officers proceeded to continuously stamp on my son’s face, then he was handcuffed. All of this occurred as he lay dying on the floor. The handcuffs were only taken off when paramedics arrived and asked the police to do so.
While I understand the circumstances under which Police were called, they had no right to treat him or any human being that way. My son was treated inhumanely.
There needs to be better signposting for those experiencing mental health crisis and their families, so that the painful events of 26 June 2021, which has affected not just our family but the other families too, does not happen again.”
The family request that their privacy is respected during this challenging period and will not make further comment.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Any contact should be made to the family’s solicitor Patricia Hampel P.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelvin Igweani’s family is represented by Patricia Hampel of Birnberg Peirce Ltd and Stephen Simblet KC of Garden Court Chambers.