Officers cleared of perjury in Kingsley Burrell case
Three West Midlands Police officers accused of lying at an inquest into a man’s death have been cleared by a jury of perjury and perverting the course of justice.
PCs Paul Adey (37) Mark Fannan (45) and 51-year-old Paul Greenfield were today (Oct 4) found not guilty of misleading the 2015 inquest into the circumstances of Kingsley Burrell’s death four years earlier.
Mr Burrell, from Walsall, died in hospital on 31 March 2011 having suffered a heart attack.
He had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act on 27 March and transferred to hospital three days later after police were called to a disturbance at the secure unit involving the 29-year-old.
The 2015 inquest concluded neglect by police, paramedics and hospital staff played a part in his death – and that a covering, put over Mr Burrell’s head as he’d spat at paramedics during his transfer, should have been removed but was kept in place even after he’d been moved to a seclusion room.
PCs Adey, Fannan and Greenfield – response officers all involved in the incident – told the inquest they couldn’t recall if Mr Burrell’s head had been covered.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) later charged all three with perjury and perverting the course of justice amid claims they lied while giving that evidence – but a jury at Birmingham Crown Court today cleared them on all counts.
West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe said: “Our officers had a number of interactions with Mr Burrell in the four days prior to his death so we voluntarily referred the case to the IPCC – we have fully co-operated with all requests made by their investigators.
“The role these three officers played in the detention of Mr Burrell has now been thoroughly examined by independent investigators – and there has never been any suggestion they were criminally responsible for Mr Burrell’s death.
“We do not underestimate the impact this investigation has had on Kingsley’s family, the wider community and the officers; we share concerns that this investigation has taken such a length of time.”
Kingsley Burrell dialled 999 from a supermarket in Winson Green on 27 March 2011 saying someone had threatened his young son with a gun – but police could find no evidence to suggest he’d been threatened and he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
An investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service in 2014 concluded there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone over Mr Burrell's death.
DCC Rolfe added that crucial lessons had been learned from this tragic case around how the force manages people with mental health needs.
“In 2013 we launched a mental health triage scheme which sees officers teamed with paramedics and psychiatric nurses on a specialist vehicle to respond to calls involving people thought to be experiencing mental ill health.
“The team provides on-the-spot assessments, often in the street or in private property, which has led to a dramatic drop in the number of people deemed necessary to detain under the Mental Health Act.
“This closer partnership working, together with improved training for officers, ensures people are able to access the support services they need and deserve and that they are dealt with by the right emergency service.”
PC Mark Fannon is the longest serving of the three officers having joined West Midlands Police in October 2004. PC Paul Greenfield signed-up in January 2007 and PC Paul Adey – who received a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation for Outstanding Work in June 2010 – has been with the force since March 2008.
DCC Rolfe added: “The misconduct position against the officers has been stayed whilst the criminal process has been conducted; now proceedings are complete we await the IPCC’s conclusions regarding misconduct matters.”