11:54am Thursday 12th April 2012
By David Hardiman
The brother of a bus driver whose charred remains were found in Palmers Green two years ago has welcomed a fresh police investigation but said it would have happened quicker if he was white.
The Metropolitan Police announced last night that it would reopen its investigation into the death of Kester David, 53, of Russell Avenue, Wood Green, after his family took legal action over “a catalogue of errors” by detectives.
Mr David’s body was found with 100 per cent burns underneath a railway arch in Broomfield Lane on July 7, 2010, and detectives decided he took his own life by dousing himself in petrol and setting himself alight.
But his family believe he was murdered because he was a police informant, and a leaked internal report showed that officers failed to interview vital witnesses who heard screams at the time of the death for more than a year.
His brother, Roger David-Griffith, told the Enfield Independent: “We welcome the decision to open a murder investigation, but we are disappointed that it has taken so long and that it has only been opened following our representations rather than as an immediate response to the findings of internal investigation reports that were available to senior police officers several months ago.”
A report found detectives had not checked CCTV footage, failed to cross-reference DNA from the scene, did not examine mobile phone evidence and ignored potentially key witnesses, and a coroner gave an open verdict into the death last year, saying that murder could not be ruled out.
Mr David-Griffith added: “We would ask any witnesses to come forward and co-operate with the new investigating team. We still have concerns about the initial investigation and feel that we would not have had to wait so long and fight so hard if Kester had been a white man.
“It appears that little has changed since the Macpherson report of the early nineties.”
The Macpherson report published in 1999 after the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence found that the Met was “institutionally racist” and made a list of recommendations.
Mr David had worked at the Arriva bus garage in Wood Green for ten years, and was wearing his uniform when he died.
The move by police to declare his death ‘unexplained’ follows a catalogue of allegations of racism from members of the public against the force, which led to Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe to declare “there is no place for racism in the Met”.
After last week a recording made by 21-year-old Mauro Demetrio of an officer using racist language when arresting him in south London was made public, it emerged that 18 Met officers and one civilian employee are being investigated over ten serious complaints of racist behaviour.
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