On the evening of Saturday 5 November, an as-yet-unnamed man died in the reception area of Stoke Newington police station. The death prompted the sudden closure of the station, at which time officers erected a hasty screen of blue tarpaulin to obscure the scene.
Hackney Police quickly put out a tweet stating that the death was not being treated as suspicious. However, commenters were swift to point out that ‘not being treated as suspicious’ is not necessarily synonymous with ‘not actually suspicious’:
“Not being treated as suspicious” doesn’t mean it’s not suspicious though does it.
— Jessica (@_Jess_Rabbit) November 5, 2022
It's getting so you can't trust the initial statement from the met police. How long before they change the initial statement. I give it two weeks 😐😐
— Chris is good (@CmOverdose) November 5, 2022
As Hackney Cop Watch pointed out, Stoke Newington police station is somewhat notorious for the deaths within its walls:
Along with Brixton, Stoke Newington has the highest number of deaths in custody in any police station in the UK. This is not an isolated event.
Campaign group Sisters Uncut drew parallels with the historic deaths of Colin Roach and Vandana Patel within the station:
In 1983 Colin Roach walked into Stoke Newington Police Station reception and came out dead from gun shot wounds.
In 1991 Vandana Patel was left alone with her perpetrator in this police station. She came out dead.
This station and Brixton tied for the most deaths.
— Sisters Uncut (@SistersUncut) November 6, 2022
In light of this, the concerns raised by the public over the circumstances of this newest fatality are not unfounded.
It later emerged that the deceased was a 68-year-old white man who had apparently been in and out of the station since 9am that same morning. A later statement from the police stressed that he was not in custody.
Police claimed that the deceased died after climbing onto a telephone kiosk and jumping off. They also said that they had found a suicide note.
Caroline Russell, Highbury ward councillor for the Green Party, commented:
The police statement answers some questions and raises more that will need to be answered as the case is looked into.
— Caroline Russell (@CarolineRussell) November 6, 2022
Indeed, the telephone kiosks in question appear to have been somewhat low to the ground, casting some doubt on the official version of events:
— Hackney Cop Watch (@HackneyCopWatch) November 6, 2022
Hackney Cop Watch has called for the release of CCTV footage to the family of the deceased. The group has also stated that it will be:
holding a meeting on Wednesday 9th November at 6:30pm at Well Space, 241 Well Street, E9 6RG. This meeting, hosted by Hackney Cop Watch, will be a space to reflect, mourn, and organise.
We await the coroner’s report on the exact manner of the deceased’s death, and join in the call for greater clarity and transparency.
You can read Hackney Cop Watch’s full statement here.
Featured image via Twitter
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