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Kingsley Burrell: West Midlands Police officers 'lied after death of father'

By David Banner | Birmingham | Crime | Published:

Three West Midlands Police officers told repeated lies about a cloth covering placed over the head of a mental health patient who later died, a court has heard.

Kingsley Burrell

Jurors were told that Paul Adey, 36, Mark Fannon, 45, and Paul Greenfield, 50, may have "put their heads together" and agreed to lie about events surrounding the death of Kingsley Burrell.

A trial at Birmingham Crown Court was told numerous witnesses saw Mr Burrell's head or face covered with either a towel, sheet or blanket when he was placed in a seclusion room at the city's Oleaster mental health unit.

CCTV evidence presented in court showed Mr Burrell, who died from brain damage following prolonged prone restraint in March 2011, with a white head covering as he was led out of an A&E ward.

Mr Burrell, a 29-year-old father-of-three, had been transferred from Mary Seacole House, a mental health unit in Winson Green, to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital on March 30, 2011.

The court heard that a paramedic pulled a white sheet on a hospital trolley "loosely" over the head of Mr Burrell, who had been sedated, after he began writhing about and spitting.

Opening the case against Pcs Adey, Fannon and Greenfield, prosecutor Michael Burrows QC alleged that the men lied at an inquest in 2015 by claiming not to have seen anything covering Mr Burrell's face.

The barrister told the court the three defendants were among four officers tasked with transferring Mr Burrell, who had cut his head on a wall, after he threatened to stab mental health workers with a toothbrush.

Mr Burrows told jurors: "In this case, you are not concerned with the rights and wrongs of how anybody - staff or police officer - treated Kingsley Burrell.

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"On the evidence you will see and hear, including the CCTV and the accounts of the staff at the Oleaster unit, it is clear that his face was covered with some cloth, a towel or a blanket.

"Quite simply, we say that these police officers have lied in their accounts about that.

"Of course it may be that they have put their heads together and agreed to lie about this issue, but the prosecution does not set out to prove that is the case.

"All we set out to prove is that they lied about this matter and they have each lied about it in their accounts given, firstly during the course of the investigation and secondly in their sworn evidence at the inquest."

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Mr Burrows added: "You will of course bear in mind the difficult job they had to do. Nobody expects them to have perfect recall - to recall everything they saw.

"But you may conclude that it is inconceivable that they did not see the covering over Kingsley Burrell's face whilst at the A&E and at the Oleaster unit.

"We say the truth is clear - when they withdrew from the seclusion room, there was something covering Kingsley's face.

"These police officers realised the significance of such a covering. After all, the patient they had been dealing with died."

All three officers deny committing perjury during the inquest and perverting the course of justice by giving statements they knew to be false.

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