- 2013 National Black Members' Conference
- 17 September 2012
Christopher Alder, a former paratrooper, died in police custody in 1998. Christopher had gone to a nightclub in Hull with friends but had been assaulted there so badly that he needed to be taken to hospital. Staff at Hull Royal Infirmary decided that his behaviour was “extremely troublesome” even though this might have been a result of his head injury. Two police officers escorted him from the premises and then arrested him, supposedly to prevent a breach of the peace.
At the police station he was “partially dragged and partially carried,” handcuffed and unconscious, from the police van and then placed on the floor of the custody suite. CCTV recorded officers chatting and saying that Christopher was faking illness. They also appear to be making monkey noises at him and laughing. Christopher choked to death on that police station floor.
An inquest in 2001 recorded his death as unlawful killing. A year later, a court cleared the five police officers of manslaughter and misconduct. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in 2006 found the officers guilty of a “most serious neglect of duty” and “unwitting racism”.
This Conference notes that in 2011, 13 years after his death, it came to light that it was not Christopher Alder who was buried in the family grave but the body of an elderly woman named Grace Kamara who died of natural causes in 1999. She was some 50 years older than Christopher and much taller. The ‘mix up’ was only discovered when members of Grace’s family asked to see her body before it was buried.
Janet Alder, Christopher’s sister, explained “I was in shock. They have treated us like dirt. The Council didn’t have to be rocket scientists to find out if they had the right body. Don’t they have a process for embalming the body? How did they get it into the coffin?”
The Justice for Christopher Alder Campaign have secured copies of CCTV evidence from the West Yorkshire and Humberside Police forces of the night that Christopher died in 1998. It is believed that this CCTV evidence may potentially contain new information that could re-open the Christopher Alder case.
The Justice for Christopher Alder Campaign is seeking solidarity and financial support to secure the professional and Independent transcription of those CCTV tapes. This financial appeal aims to secure £5,000 to cover the costs for the transcription.
This Conference calls on the NBMC to work with the NEC:
1)To support and affiliate to the Justice for Christopher Alder Campaign and
2)To donate £1,000 towards the campaign.