UK

Ian Tomlinson family receive Met police payout over G20 death

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Media captionFootage showed police push Mr Tomlinson - video courtesy guardian.co.uk

The Met Police has apologised to the family of Ian Tomlinson and reached an out-of-court settlement over his death at the G20 protests in London in 2009.

The force apologised "unreservedly" for the "excessive and unlawful force" used by one of its officers.

Mr Tomlinson had been walking home when he was struck with a baton and pushed to the ground by then-PC Simon Harwood.

His widow Julia said the apology was "as close as we are going to get to justice".

She also said the family could "finally start looking to the future again", while his stepson Paul King said there was a "little bit of a sense of achievement".

Mr Tomlinson's widow and seven of his children and step-children had pursued the compensation claim. The amount will remain confidential.

'Endured with dignity'

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Maxine de Brunner said the settlement acknowledged the "suffering" Mr Tomlinson's family had "endured with dignity" since his death, as she apologised for PC Harwood's actions.

The statement added that all litigation between the force and the Tomlinson family had been resolved.

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Media captionMs de Brunner: "I take full responsibility for the actions of Simon Harwood on 1 April 2009"

Mr Tomlinson, a 47-year-old newspaper seller, was caught up in the G20 demonstrations in the City of London as he walked home in April 2009.

He collapsed minutes after being struck with a baton and died of internal bleeding, in what was later found by an inquest jury to be an unlawful killing.

His encounter with PC Harwood was caught on film by a bystander who passed the footage to the Guardian newspaper.

PC Harwood was acquitted last year of manslaughter last year but he was later sacked by the Met Police for gross misconduct.

Ms de Brunner said she took "full responsibility" for the former PC's actions, that fell "far below" the standard expected.

She also apologised for "ill-considered comments" made in the media following Mr Tomlinson's death - although the Met would not elaborate on the comments she was referring to.

'Deep regret'

Ms de Brunner said it was a "matter of deep regret that Mr Tomlinson's family learned of the nature of his contact with Simon Harwood through the press", and the commissioner also apologised for the information given by a Met Police officer to the pathologists "that misled them initially as to the cause of death".

Although the officer's actions were "inadvertent" this "should not have happened", she said.

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Media caption"It's time to move on": Ian Tomlinson's stepson Paul King speaks to the BBC's June Kelly

Dr Freddy Patel, the pathologist who wrongly judged that Mr Tomlinson had died from a heart attack, was struck off a year ago for acting with "deficient professional performance".

In the days after Mr Tomlinson was killed, the City of London Police said he had a "sudden heart attack" and collapsed "on his way home from work". The Met said that officers treating him had bottles thrown at them.

Mrs Tomlinson said that as soon as the family saw the footage of her husband being shoved to the ground, they "knew Ian had been unlawfully killed by the officer" and it had been a "really hard uphill battle" to get to the truth.

"After the unlawful killing verdict at the inquest it was unimaginable to us that PC Harwood could be acquitted of the criminal charge of manslaughter," she said.

"We will never understand that verdict, but at least today's public admission of unlawful killing by the Metropolitan Police is the final verdict, and it is as close as we are going to get to justice."

Mr King said he was "thankful for the full apology they've given" and it was about "putting it to bed and moving on now".

Misconduct allegations

Following the incident, it emerged that PC Harwood had faced several allegations of misconduct during his time in the police service.

In 2000, while off-duty, he was involved in what was described at the inquest as a "road rage" incident. He retired from the Met Police on medical grounds in 2001 before a disciplinary hearing could take place.

He then joined Surrey Police before being re-employed by Scotland Yard in 2004, despite an allegation of misconduct while at Surrey.

Ms de Brunner said the force had "got it wrong" when it came to disciplining PC Harwood, stressing the case had highlighted "significant failings in the vetting procedures" at the Met.

"It is clear that insufficient recording and checks meant that detailed information regarding the officer's misconduct history was not shared at key points," she said.

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