The body of a Falkland war veteran who died in police custody under horrific circumstances has been discovered in a mortuary 11 years after his family believed they had buried him. The family of Former Paratrooper and father of two, Christopher Alder have been informed that a woman by the name of Grace Kamara may have been buried in his place.
Mr Alder died at the Queen’s Gardens Police Station in Hull on April 1st 1998. Earlier that day he had been injured during an argument outside of a nightclub and was taken to hospital, where he is said to have become hostile possibly due his head injuries. Although the doctors had yet to make a diagnosis, he was discharged into Police Custody and taken to the station.
By the time he arrived, he was found unconscious and officers dragged him into the station placing him face down on the floor. CCTV footage allegedly showed officers accusing him of “putting on act” and making money chants whilst he struggled for breathe at their feet in the pool of blood surrounding his face. It was over ten minutes before the officers came to his aid and by then it was too late, he was dead.
Although the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found the officers guilty of “unwitting racism”, all five of the officers were acquitted in the subsequent trial. His family have been battling for Justice ever since and his sister Janet believes that this latest development has added insult to injury;
‘ I’m just in total shock, I really cannot believe that after all we’ve been through, after all the family’s been through … there can be so much incompetence ‘ she told the BBC
‘I want to know what’s happened to Christopher’s body all these years. It’s like they just went into the mortuary, saw a black person and said “send this one out”.’
Ms Alder was informed of the situation when a friend of Grace Kamara came to inspect her body on the day of her funeral which was due to be held in Sheffield on the 4th of November.
‘[Police] told me that in 1999 a woman called Grace Kamara, who was about 60, died from a heart attack. She was kept in deep freeze because her family, who all live in Nigeria, were asking for repatriation.’
‘The undertakers went to get the body and it was then they found it wasn’t Grace, it was a man.’
Earlier this week, Hull City council released a statement signifying their intention to start a criminal investigation into the matter.
“Hull City Council is both appalled and distraught at what it has learnt and, in conjunction with Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, is undertaking a full and thorough investigation.”
The case will not be handled be handled by the Humberside Police force due to their involvement in Mr Alder’s death and instead, the assignment has been passed on to the South Yorkshire Police force.
It is believed that this investigation will lead to exhumation of Ms Kamara which Mr Alder brother Robert has warned will disturb the ashes of his daughter;
“Our shock and grief is made worse by the fact that when my daughter, Laura, died in 2006 her ashes were scattered on Christopher’s grave at her request.
“The police have told us that the body of whoever is buried in Christopher’s grave will have to be exhumed. This means that Laura’s remains will also be disturbed and this just adds to our horror and pain at this time.”
“This should never have happened and it must never be allowed to happen again.”
This year a disproportionate number of black men have died in Police Custody under suspicious circumstances and there is growing feeling within communities across the country, that the lives and dignity of black people are not valued.
The fact that not a single officer has been charged and now the discovery of Mr Adler’s body serves only to compound these feelings. Supporters of Mr Alder family have asked the general public to send copies of a letter calling for a public inquiry into the case to their MP’s. The letter can be found here and we ask all readers to support this campaign for Justice.