“My Husband is Gone”
by Mikey Powell Campaign
Originally published 26th December 2006
News updates listed at the foot of this item
On Tuesday 26th September 2006, Frank Ogboru became another victim to die following physical restraint by police officers. He had been on holiday in Britain for three weeks when he got into an argument with the girlfriend of a friend. Police were called to the flat in Woolwich, south east London around 10.30pm and attempted to arrest him. Frank later lost consciousness as police pinned him down on the street.
Speaking on the telephone from Lagos, Frank’s wife, Christine Ogboru had a very simple question, “I want to know what killed my husband?” Frank Ogboru was 43; he had been on a visit to London to see friends since early September 2006. His wife was expecting him home the following week.
The details of the domestic dispute which led to police attending the address are as yet unclear, but things appeared to have become sufficiently heated for the police to be called. Within an hour or so of the arrival of uniformed police Frank Ogboru lay dead outside the Vista flats in Woolwich town centre. He was treated by paramedics but was recorded as having passed away before he reached Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Early after the death the Nigerian government took great interest in the circumstances surrounding the death of one of their citizens. The Nigerian community in Woolwich lobbied their diplomatic representatives to try and find answers.
The incident had been witnessed by several people including Sean Pops, 26, who said; “The officers were on top of him, you could tell he was in a lot of pain. The guy kept saying ‘I can’t breathe’.” Another witness said he saw one officer standing with his foot on the victim’s neck as another officer attempted to handcuff him.
An anonymous witness, who saw the incident from her living room window said; “First there were two officers, then four, then more. It was like they were squashing him. They were pinning him down and handcuffing him. I saw officers with their knees on him and their feet on him. He was just wailing – the kind of sound a dog would make if it was kicked. I thought there were too many of them on him.”
It was reported that the incident was recorded on a mobile phone by a passer-by, but the phone was later seized as evidence. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) launched an investigation into the incident which they claimed would be “full and thorough”. The Metropolitan police will also be investigating the case through its own directorate of professional standards.
IPCC officials leafleted local residents and talked to others who may have witnessed the events surrounding Mr Ogboru’s death. It had clearly not helped matters when it was alledged that the IPCC announced early on that Mr Ogboru had died in hospital. Investigators neutrality has been seriously questioned as a consequence.
Frank Ogboru owned a car dealership in Nigeria and has been described by his wife Christy as a ‘loving and generous’ man. Speaking from her home in Lagos, she went on to say; “I want the police to tell me why my husband is dead. He was not a violent man, he was not a criminal.
“He went to Britain to see his friends and now he is dead. He was my life… Frank was a big strong man, he had no health problems. I want him back, but my husband is gone. I can’t have him but I must have justice.”
In April 2008 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) ruled that there was insufficient evidence to charge any individuals with any offences in relation to the tragic death of Frank Ogboru.
Tourist death in police custody
6 May 2008
CPS decision on the death of Frank Ogboru
30 April 2008
Frank Ogboru – another death in police custody
7 October 2006
Investigation launched as man dies during arrest
28 September 2006
Inquiry as man dies after being pinned to ground by police
28 September 2006