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Rashan Charles’ death: Family must wait 10 months for full inquest

PUBLISHED: 19:18 16 August 2017 | UPDATED: 19:18 16 August 2017

Rashan Charles' father, great uncle and a family friend leave Poplar Coroner's Court after the opening of an inquest into his death. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Rashan Charles' father, great uncle and a family friend leave Poplar Coroner's Court after the opening of an inquest into his death. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

Emma Bartholomew

The cause of Rashan Charles’ death is not likely to be made public until next summer, to allow the police watchdog to complete its investigation.

Flowers have been laid outside the Yours Locally shop in Kingsland Road, in memory of Rashan CharlesFlowers have been laid outside the Yours Locally shop in Kingsland Road, in memory of Rashan Charles

Mr Charles, a 20-year-old father-of-one from south west London, died an hour after being chased into Yours Locally in Kingsland Road, Dalston, at 1.45am on July 22.

His death sparked protests and violent clashes with police officers after he was seen in CCTV footage apparently being held down by a member of the public and handcuffed by a police officer.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating.

The senior coroner for inner north London, Mary Hassell, today apologised for the 10-month delay at the opening of the inquest into his death at Poplar Coroner’s Court, attended by his father Esa, great uncle and a family friend.

The vigil for Rashan outside the Yours Locally shop in Kingsland High Street. Picture: Emma BartholomewThe vigil for Rashan outside the Yours Locally shop in Kingsland High Street. Picture: Emma Bartholomew

“I’m sorry that seems a very long way away,” she said.

“It is a long way away. But it’s my experience that when the IPCC are investigating deaths such as this one, it is simply impossible to have the inquest any sooner because the IPCC will need to investigate, take statements and prepare a report, and only after that will there be disclosure.”

She said the hearing in June could “take weeks rather than days” and the inquest will be presided over by a jury which, will come to a conclusion based on all the evidence.

On August 2 the IPCC made a statement saying an object removed from Mr Charles’ throat at the scene had not contained any illegal substances.

Diane Abbott MP joined Esa, father of Rashan, and (left) speaker L. Tavares, 31,outside Stoke Newington police station. Picture: Polly HancockDiane Abbott MP joined Esa, father of Rashan, and (left) speaker L. Tavares, 31,outside Stoke Newington police station. Picture: Polly Hancock

The following day it emerged that he had tried to swallow paracetamol and caffeine wrapped in cellophane.

Coroner’s officer David Brereton this afternoon told the hearing that “no medical cause of death has been offered at this time”, pending the results of toxicology and histology reports.

Two postmortems have been carried out, with the second on August 14 attended by two pathologists representing both the family and the police.

Mr Brereton described how Mr Charles had been in cardiac arrest when the London Ambulance Service arrived at the scene. On arrival at A&E doctors took the decision not to continue with CPR and he was pronounced dead at 2.55am.

Coroner Hassell made a provisional finding today that Mr Charles died on August 22 at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

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