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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 18:04 GMT
Fight continues over prison death
Alton Manning
Alton Manning died in prison in 1995
The family of a prisoner who died in a struggle with warders has vowed to continue campaigning after the Crown Prosecution Service refused to bring charges.

Relatives of Alton Manning, 33, won a judicial review in 2000 ordering the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to re-examine an earlier decision not to bring charges against prison officers.

But on Friday a CPS spokesman said there was "insufficient evidence" to bring a case against anyone involved.

Restauranteur Mr Manning, from Sparkbrook, Birmingham, died at the privatised Blakenhurst prison in Redditch, Worcestershire, in December 1995.

'Unlawful killing'

The CPS spokesman said on Friday: "After careful consideration it has been decided that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any prison officer in connection with Mr Manning's tragic death."

A coroner's jury returned a unanimous verdict of unlawful killing at an inquest in 1998 into Mr Manning's death.

It is clear that the criminal justice system is seen to have failed Mr Manning's family yet again

Raju Bhatt, family solicitor
The jurors heard that Mr Manning had refused to squat down during a strip search and a struggle resulted in him being restrained by a number of officers.

His body went limp while he was still restrained and a pool of blood was noticed at his mouth, the inquest heard, and a prison nurse was unable to resuscitate him.

This latest review of the evidence was the fifth to be carried out by the CPS.

The family's solicitor, Raju Bhatt, said: "It is clear that the criminal justice system is seen to have failed Mr Manning's family yet again.

"And the onus remains on them to ensure that those responsible for the death of their loved one are brought to account.

Private prison

"All options available to them to that end will be considered in the fullness of time.

"In the first instance they will seek to bring under scrutiny the reasons given for the continuing refusal to prosecute by the CPS and the Director of Public Prosecutions."

Blakenhurst was the second prison to be contracted out to the private sector by the Home Office.

A spokeswoman for deaths in custody action group Inquest said: "Yet again the CPS have decided that nobody is to be held criminally responsible for this appalling death.

"This decision once again brings the entire criminal justice system into disrepute.

"The family of Alton Manning has been utterly failed."

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