On 4 May 1969 David’s body is found at Knostrop weir, River Aire/ Aire-Calder canal junction by a group of boys. One of the boys (Wayne Batley) said “We all thought it was a sack or a Guy Fawkes but then it rolled over slightly with the current and I realised it was a black man.”
18 months after David’s body was found, a police cadet sets off the investigation into David’s death after revealing the torment and abuse that he had endured at the hands of Ellerker and Kitching.
Witnesses stated that they observed two policemen pursuing someone to the river in April 1969. In April 1971 Ellerker and Kitching are charged with manslaughter, actual bodily harm and grievous bodily harm. Ellerker is found guilty of four charges of assaulting David. He is sentenced to 3 years in prison. Kitching is convicted on three counts of assault and receives a 4 year prison sentence.
The trial judge directed the jury to find both officers not guilty of manslaughter.
David Oluwale: The first victim of racist policing
15 April 2019
Legacy of Hate
The brutal story of a Nigerian immigrant hounded to death by police in the 1960s still resonates today, writes Kester Aspden.
30 May 2007
Long awaited book – ‘The Hounding of David Oluwale’ >
When, in May 1969, the body of David Oluwale was fished out of the River Aire near Leeds, not too many questions were asked about the circumstances of his death. Oluwale was a tramp and a patient in a mental hospital, an immigrant from Nigeria who was trapped in a system that failed him miserably – a police charge sheet from just two weeks earlier had ‘BRIT’ scored out, his nationality replaced with ‘WOG’.
Caryl Phillips – Foreigners – Three English Lives
Each of these men’s stories is told in a different, perfectly realized voice. Each illuminates the complexity and drama that lie behind the tragedy of their lives. And each explores the themes at the heart of Caryl Phillips’ work – belonging, identity, and race.
Other articles & resources:
Remembering David, at his graveside, 50 years later
Linton Kwesi Johnson – poetry for David Oluwale
TRUE CRIME: The Death of David Oluwale: Police Brutality
The Hounding of David Oluwale