Humberside

Christopher Alder custody death: Sister demands justice 20 years on

Janet Alder at the commemoration event
Image caption Janet Alder says there are still many unanswered questions around her brother's death

The sister of a man who died in police custody has vowed to continue her quest for justice as a commemoration takes place marking 20 years since his death.

Christopher Alder, 37, choked to death while handcuffed and lying face down on the floor of a police station in Hull on 1 April 1998.

An inquest found he was unlawfully killed but no-one has been held accountable for his death.

Janet Alder said: "This is me saying to the system, you cannot shut me up."

She was joined by dozens of supporters of the Justice for Christopher Alder campaign who gathered in Queen Victoria Square before leading a silent procession to the police station where the ex-paratrooper died.

Image copyright Alder family
Image caption Five officers were cleared of manslaughter and misconduct over Christopher Alder's death

Father-of-two Mr Alder was injured during a fight in Hull and taken to hospital for treatment.

He was later arrested for an alleged breach of the peace and taken to Queens Gardens police station, where he lay on the floor without moving and with his trousers around his ankles.

CCTV footage showed officers laughing and joking as Mr Alder lay dying. It was more than 10 minutes before police went to his aid.

'Unwitting racism'

In 2001 an inquest jury found he was unlawfully killed and that he died because his ability to breathe was affected by lying face down.

Misconduct and manslaughter charges were later brought against five Humberside Police officers but they were acquitted in 2002.

Image caption A procession through Hull marked the 20th anniversary of Christopher Alder's death

A 2006 report by the police watchdog said four of the officers present in the custody suite when he died were guilty of the "most serious neglect of duty" and "unwitting racism".

Then in 2011 the family were dealt a further blow when they were told the body of a woman had been buried in place of Mr Alder in 2000.

Last month two police officers were cleared of spying on Miss Alder during her campaign for answers over her brother's death.

Humberside Police has apologised for its failure to "treat Christopher with sufficient compassion" but Miss Alder is angry no-one has been held accountable.

She said: "What happened to my brother is shocking and appalling.

"I wake up every day reliving everything. It's had a massive effect on my life but I'm not going away. I will fight this to the end."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites