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The BBC's Jon Brain
"His friends and family are still demanding justice"
 real 28k

Saturday, 13 May, 2000, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Fresh demands for Reel inquiry
Campaigners gathered outside Scotland Yard to demonstrate over the death of Ricky Reel
Reel family supporters allege police racism
Campaigners demonstrating outside police stations nationwide have renewed their demand for a public inquiry into the death of an Asian student.

The police have offered to review the case of Ricky Reel but his family want an entirely new investigation.

The 20-year-old Brunel University student's body was found in the Thames two-and-a-half years ago.

It's devastating to lose a child and not know how he died

Sukhdev Reel

The dead man's mother, Sukhdev Reel, thinks her son was murdered and argues that had he been white his killers would now be in jail.

Supporters of the family have been mounting pickets outside Scotland Yard and police stations in Plymouth, Sheffield, Birmingham and Swindon.

Mrs Reel said: "It's devastating to lose a child and not know how he died.

"My family have been out on the streets trying to find out what happened so there has been no time to sit at home and mourn his death.

Police criticised

"The police think people from the ethnic minorities will accept a second-class service. They are wrong.

Ricky Reel went missing after a night out
"This happened a long time after Stephen Lawrence's murder but it is clear nothing has changed."

The 20-year-old student disappeared in October 1997 after he was subjected to a racist attack during a night out with friends.

An initial inquiry by the Metropolitan Police was severely criticised but, after a second inquiry under the Met's Racial and Violent Crime task force, no significant new leads emerged to back the family's theory of murder.

Inquest's open verdict

An inquest into Mr Reel's death last year returned an open verdict.

But campaigners have continued to demand further investigation - saying police racism hampered the inquiry.

Mrs Reel's lawyer, Fadiq Khan, said: "We want a fresh police investigation, a public inquiry into the handling of the case, and for the Police Complaints Authority report into the initial investigation to be made public.

"The police need to start treating black victims of crime as they would white victims of crime."

The investigation into Mr Reel's death is one of a number of cases which, in the wake of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, have prompted a review of how the Metropolitan Police handles race-related cases.

A Bedfordshire Police report into the Reel case is due to be completed in the next few months.

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