Police criticised as private investigators examine Ryan Passey's death
West Midlands Police has been accused of frustrating a private investigation into the death of a young man who was killed in a nightclub by refusing the share evidence from the case - as his family prepare to launch civil proceedings.
The family of Ryan Passey, who was stabbed to death in Chicago's in Stourbridge in 2017, have hired a private investigator in the hope of securing justice for him.
Kobe Murray was cleared by a jury in 2018. He admitted stabbing Mr Passey but said he did so in self defence.
Mr Passey's family are set to launch civil proceedings and hope fresh evidence will come out.
Private investigator Russ Winfield, a former detective of more than 30 years, has been hired to examine the case but says there has been no co-operation from West Midlands Police.
He says going over existing evidence that formed the basis for the original prosecution could prove crucial to his investigation.
Mr Winfield, of Liberton Investigations, said: "The family are struggling to maintain any form of trust and confidence in West Midlands Police. This is because of the lack of information about the investigation, firstly how it was conducted and how it has been conducted since the acquittal.
"We've asked a number of reasonable questions of West Midlands Police about the investigation and the response has been woefully inadequate. That's hampering our investigation."
The investigator said it was important time wasn't wasted chasing leads already established by the force, and that the assistance of detectives could help uncover new evidence.
He also criticised Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson for not responding to letters from the family. Mr Winfield said it was the PCC's job to hold the force to account in situations such as this.
"The family who tragically lost Ryan need to be 100 per cent certain everything that can be done has been done," he said. "Platitudes from West Midlands Police are not good enough with no substance."
Mr Passey died from a knife wound after an argument broke out in the nightclub. Mr Murray admitted stabbing him, but said it was an accident.
Mr Winfield has pledged to fully re-investigate Mr Passey's death, with or without the assistance of the police, and will attempt to gather fresh evidence and appeal for new witnesses to come forward.
He added: "Ryan's family and myself completely believe in justice but justice can only be achieved if the jury hears all the evidence and in Ryan's case I'm not convinced to jury heard everything."
A spokesman for the PCC said he would be raising the case with the Chief Constable.
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: "West Midlands Police conducted a review of this tragic case following the acquittal and regularly liaise with the CPS. This review has been shared with the lawyer acting on behalf of Ryan’s family but we are unable to disclose any further information to them at this time.
“West Midlands Police fully understands and empathises with Ryan’s family and friends’ need for justice and will continue to explore any new lines of enquiry, as we do with all unsolved murder inquiries."
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