Investigation follows tragic canal death of a young man
by Mikey Powell Campaign
published – August 2011
News updates listed at the foot of this item
Wayne Hamilton, aged 24, was found dead in a Sheffield canal on 16th June 2010. He had been reported missing by his worried family on 11th June when a friend rang them to say the last time he had seen Wayne he was running off with police officers chasing him. In a bid to trace Wayne when he failed to return home his mother, Bev Hamilton-Brown, issued an appeal in a local paper, The Star, urging readers to come forward with information on his whereabouts.
She said his disappearance was “totally out of character” and that his family were “going out of their minds with worry”.
“There is a river near where he went missing, we are thinking he has had an accident and maybe drowned or was taken by the current,” she said at the time.
The friend told the family he had been stopped at approximately 1:30am on Thursday 10th June by two South Yorkshire police officers carried out a stop in Attercliffe. Wayne was a passenger in the car. Initial reports suggest Mr Hamilton ran from the scene pursued by one of the officers.
Following the family’s’ missing person report South Yorkshire Police began the inquiry which ended with the discovery of Wayne’s body. Wayne’s sister Natalie identified the body of her brother. She said her family was trying to come to terms with the tragedy.
Because police officers were among the last to see Wayne, the matter was referred to the IPCC by South Yorkshire Police.
IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said: “It is the very early stages. The IPCC has commenced an independent investigation after the body of a man who was reported missing after being chased on foot by police officers was found in a canal.”
“My condolences go out to Mr Hamilton’s family and friends. The investigation we have commenced is examining what happened during the police stop in the early hours of Thursday and whether the police response to the missing person report was sufficient.”
An inquest into Wayne’s death opened in June 2011.
Despite a pattern of cases where inquest juries have rejected the official version of events and found overwhelming evidence of unlawful and excessive use of force or gross neglect, no police or prison officer or nurse has been held responsible, either at an individual or senior management level, for institutional and systemic failures to improve training and other policies.
In the face of these daunting statistics, particularly in relation to black deaths in custody, on Father’s Day, 17 June 2012, peaceful vigils were held across the UK in remembrance of those who have died in various forms of state custody. The vigils were initiated by the family of Wayne Hamilton (24) who was found dead in a Sheffield canal on 16 June 2010. He had been reported missing by his family for five days before a friend contacted them to say that he had last seen Wayne running with police officers chasing him.
A number of campaigns and families of those who have died in custody also called events on the same day in a show of national solidarity. They were supported by the United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC), the national coalition of families affected by deaths in police, prison, psychiatric and immigration custody or detention .
Peaceful vigils took place in: Manchester; Birmingham; High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire; Slough, Berkshire; Scotland Yard, central London and Brixton in south London. The participants demand justice for all of those who have died in police and other custody.
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Nationwide vigils commemorate deaths in custody (pdf)
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