Page last updated at 19:21 GMT, Friday, 17 April 2009 20:21 UK

G20 officer quizzed over death


Footage shows Mr Tomlinson being shoved - video courtesy

A policeman has been interviewed under caution on suspicion of manslaughter after new tests overturned the cause of a newspaper-seller's death.

Ian Tomlinson, 47, was struck and pushed over by a police officer during G20 protests on 1 April in the City.

Now a fresh post-mortem examination has found he died of abdominal bleeding, not a heart attack, as first thought.

Lawyers for the family said the new post-mortem test raised the likelihood of a manslaughter charge.

In its statement, the Coroner's Court said the inquest had looked at the first post-mortem examination carried out after Mr Tomlinson collapsed and died on the evening of 1 April.

That examination, carried out by Dr Freddy Patel, concluded Mr Tomlinson had diseased heart and liver and a substantial amount of blood in the abdominal cavity.

An internal bleed in the abdomen
Caused by injury, by disease or by some medications
Blood can put pressure on nearby organs
Loss of blood may also cause shock

"His provisional interpretation of his findings was that the cause of death was coronary artery disease," said the statement.

"A subsequent post-mortem examination was conducted by another consultant forensic pathologist, Dr Nat Cary, instructed by the IPCC and by solicitors acting for the family of the late Mr Tomlinson.

"Dr Cary's opinion is that the cause of death was abdominal haemorrhage. The cause of the haemorrhage remains to be ascertained.

"Dr Cary accepts that there is evidence of coronary atherosclerosis but states that in his opinion its nature and extent is unlikely to have contributed to the cause of death."

The statement concluded that both the opinions remained provisional and subject to further investigations and tests.

In a response, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said: "Following the initial results of the second post mortem, a Metropolitan police officer has been interviewed under caution for the offence of manslaughter as part of an ongoing inquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson."

Family reaction

Paul King, Mr Tomlinson's step-son, said "First we were told that there had been no contact with the police, then we were told that he died of a heart attack.

Mr Tomlinson's step-son says he hopes the "full truth will come out in the end"

"Now we know that he was violently assaulted by a police officer and died from internal bleeding. As time goes on we hope that the full truth about how Ian died will be made known."

Jules Carey of Tuckers, the family's solicitor, said the family had known about the results of the second post-mortem for the past week - but had reluctantly agreed to remain silent while the IPCC continued its investigations.

"The findings of Dr Nat Cary significantly increase the likelihood that the officer will now face the more serious charge of manslaughter," said Mr Carey.

"The IPCC opposed the disclosure of Dr Cary's findings until they satisfied themselves that it would not prejudice their investigation of the officer.

"It is of some comfort to the family that the record is now being put straight, but they hope that the IPCC investigation will be expedited and thorough, and that there will be a prompt referral to the CPS for charge," he added.

"Sincere regret"

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said his first thoughts were with Mr Tomlinson's family.

He added: "No one can doubt that the Metropolitan Police faced a huge challenge in securing the G20 summit.

"But there must now be a fast and transparent conclusion to the IPCC investigation, with the full and urgent co-operation of all involved."

But his predecessor as mayor, Ken Livingstone, said both Scotland Yard and Mr Johnson should have done more to counter the "hyping-up" of disorder.

He added: "The Met and the mayor's office should have been toning this down as we've done in the past, reduce the tensions, not having a lot of demonstrators and police turning up expecting violence."

The IPCC launched their investigation into Mr Tomlinson's death after video footage revealed the officer's contact with Mr Tomlinson, despite earlier reports to the contrary.

The officer involved has been suspended from duty.

The news came as attention remained focussed on the tactics used by Metropolitan Police officers who handled the G20 protests on April 1 and 2.

Another officer from the force's Territorial Support Group has also been suspended after a woman alleged she was struck during a protest held to mark Mr Tomlinson's death.

Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson has called in the Inspectorate of Constabularies to look at policing tactics on the day and how to handle future large protests.

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said it wished to reiterate its "sincere regret" over Mr Tomlinson's death but would not comment on the post-mortem while the IPCC continued its investigations.

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