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Friday, 12 May, 2000, 06:39 GMT 07:39 UK
New row over 'race' killing
MP Peter Bottomley
MP Peter Bottomley: Overtones of Lawrence case
The family of a black accountant who was beaten to death 17 months ago have been joined in their calls for justice by a local MP.

Tax specialist Jay Abatan, 42, who worked for a top London firm, died after being attacked following a row over a taxi outside a Brighton nightclub in January last year.

Manslaughter charges against two white men were dropped and three days ago the same men were cleared of assaulting Mr Abatan's brother Michael during the incident.

Michael Abatan has condemned the police and the legal system for failing to bring his brother's attackers to justice.

In a case which he says has overtones of the Stephen Lawrence case, Tory MP Peter Bottomley will be asking the police for assurances that the investigation "would have been the same if the victims had been white and the suspects had been white".

Five-day coma

Mr Bottomley, who now represents Worthing West, was MP for Eltham when Stephen Lawrence was murdered there in April 1993.

Sussex police do not believe the attack on Mr Abatan, who lived with his partner Tanya Haynes in Eastbourne, East Sussex, was racially-motivated.

A spokesman said no one had admitted to striking Mr Abatan and no-one had witnessed who assaulted him.

The tragedy happened after the Abatan brothers left the Ocean Rooms nightspot in Brighton during a birthday celebration and became involved in a dispute over a taxi.

The pair were kicked and punched and Jay suffered severe brain injuries and was in a coma for five days before doctors decided there was no hope for him.

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