Bristol

Bijan Ebrahimi murder: Bristol City Council calls for fresh probe

Bijan Ebrahimi Image copyright Ebrahimi family
Image caption Bijan Ebrahimi was beaten to death and set alight in July 2013

A new probe into the conduct of council officers who dealt with a man murdered after he was wrongly accused of being a paedophile could be launched.

Bijan Ebrahimi was beaten to death and set alight on a Bristol estate by his neighbour Lee James in July 2013.

A report by The Safer Bristol Partnership (SBP) identified a "collective failure" by Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Police.

Councillors have now voted for a new inquiry into the handling of the case.

Mayor Marvin Rees previously announced an "audit of processes and practices" at the council, and said every effort would "continue to be made to identify how the authority needs to change and improve".

The SBP found there was "institutional racism" from both the council and the police, but it found no evidence that "any individual representative of either agency intentionally behaved in a racist manner".

It said both parties had "repeatedly sided" with the Iranian national's abusers, who had targeted him for "racist abuse and victimisation".

Image copyright Avon and Somerset Police
Image caption Lee James, right, set Bijan Ebrahimi on fire. Stephen Norley, left, admitted helping

Following a separate report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, two PCSOs and two police officers were dismissed by Avon and Somerset Police and two were jailed.

However, no officers from Bristol City Council, which was Mr Ebrahimi's housing provider, have faced disciplinary action.

A motion brought by Labour councillor Mark Brain to reject the SBP's claim that no council officer had been intentionally racist towards Mr Ebrahimi was passed at a full council meeting.

Image caption Bijan Ebrahimi was murdered near his council flat in Brislington, Bristol

He said council officers obtained an ASBO against Mr Ebrahimi rather than his persecutors, despite the fact he had made 44 allegations to the police that he had been a victim of crime.

Mr Brain described the murder as "ghastly" and said: "Whilst most of the blame for the murder lies with the murderer that does not excuse employees of both Avon and Somerset Police and Bristol City Council from their share of responsibility."

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: "An investigation into how council officers supported Mr Bijan Ebrahimi will now be considered by the mayor and appropriate senior officers in determining the next steps."

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