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Thursday, July 30, 1998 Published at 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK


Gardner mother's plea to Lawrence inquiry

Joy Gardner died after police tried to arrest her

The mother of Joy Gardner, the illegal immigrant who died after being restrained by police, has handed in a submission to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

Myrna Simpson is asking the inquiry to investigate the role racism from Metropolitan Police officers may have played in her daughter's death in July 1993.

Her submission includes demands for an independent authority to investigate deaths in police custody and a separate public inquiry into Ms Gardner's death.

She also calls for an end to Home Secretary Jack Straw's plans to create a special immigration police unit.

Inquiry into police racism

The inquiry was set up to investigate police failure to secure a conviction in the racist murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence but it has a wider remit to look into other incidents of alleged racism within the force.

Mrs Gardner died just three months after Stephen when police officers attempted to arrest her at her home in Crouch End, north London.

They used restraining, equipment and wrapped 13ft of sticking tape round her head to stop her biting them. The officers involved insist that she violently resisted arrest.

Three Scotland Yard officers were subsequently found not guilty of the killing. The inquest never reached a verdict after the coroner decided the matter had been sufficiently aired during the criminal trial.

Grave vandalised

Mrs Simpson and her lawyers will be able to add verbal submissions when the Lawrence hearing resumes in September.

Ken Fro, a spokesman for the Joy Gardner Memorial Campaign, said: "We believe our demands will be taken seriously by the inquiry. We are looking forward to it looking at the case."

Mrs Garner's grave at Lavender Hill Cemetery in Enfield, north London was vandalised on Thursday, the fifth anniversary of the incident which led to her death.

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