The case in the Coroner’s Court was adjourned on the 19th May 2009 and I carried on with following up other aspects of my investigation of the case and waited for the resumption of proceedings. Given my experience in previous dealings with the Coroner’s Office, I wasn’t expecting a speedy return to the hearing. The investigation into my brother’s death had taken nearly 6 years to get a first hearing.
On 27th September 2012, I received a written formal apology from Dr Maguire, the Police Ombudsman, ( See Post dated August 2018 ) and it took a few days to distribute it around the family. A few days after receiving the apology, I read it again and was shocked to discover that Leckey had apparently closed Raymond’s case and had clearly kept it from the family. The closure of the Coroner’s Case was contained in the “Findings” section para 3 of the apology which read “I am therefore copying this letter correspondence to HM Coroner so they may wish to consider whether a fresh inquest is necessary.”
I had missed this shocking revelation and contacted the Police Ombudsman’s Office immediately to find out if I was reading it correctly. I spoke to a senior member who assured me that the Coroner’s case was closed, that they knew about it and assumed that I or my family would also have been told. I told him that it was outrageous and that I would contact the Coroner’s Office immediately.
On 2nd October 2012, I phoned the Coroner’s Office and they confirmed that the case was closed. I spoke to Ms Eileen McMahon who introduced herself as the Coroner’s Liaison Officer. She explained that it would appear that the case file confirmed it. She was unfamiliar with the case and had just received the file for the first time from a colleague. She explained that sometimes the Coroner would close the case if the evidence had already been heard in another Court. I told her that it had not and the case was only suspended so that an allegation made by me against the Forensic Officer Coll could be investigated. She said that she would write a memo to Mr Leckey about my concerns and wait for a decision from him. I explained that this was a possible case of Death by Dangerous Driving and I told her that unless the case was re-opened, I would be contacting the Attorney General to have it reopened. She asked me to hold off and that she would contact the Attorney General dependent on the response by Mr Leckey and asked me to contact her again if I hadn’t heard from her in a couple of weeks.
She said she had just received a copy of the Ombudsman’s apology to me but Mr Leckey had yet to read it.
She sounded sincere so I decided to hold off.
A month later, I phoned Eileen who stated that Mr Leckey had withdrawn from the case and had handed it over to Miss Suzanne Anderson for a decision on whether to re-open the case. Depending on her decision the matter would be left to the Attorney General.
A week later, Eileen phoned to say that the Coroner had decided to hold an inquest and that a date is being sought. I thanked her but I said that there were other matters outstanding including a new Police investigation, and possible Forensic changes. Witnesses had already attended the Coroner’s Court three times and it would be unfair to make them go through another series of adjournments for the Coroner’s convenience. She said that she would pass my comments on.
Another six years and the new case is still pending.
The Kennedy Report was published at about the same time and on 7th June 2012 I was given a verbal briefing of its contents from Kennedy and Supt Muir Clarke. (See Post dated 20th August 2012 ).
I was told that, in collusion with Coroner Leckey, Kennedy interviewed the pathologist Mr Ingram and persuaded him to change his initial Autopsy Report. Clearly Leckey was attempting to interfere with a professional witness. He needed to explain why he had deliberately left out a vital part of the pathologist’s initial Report where it had stated firmly that Raymond’s heart condition played no part in the crash. To cover his tracks he attempted to persuade Mr Ingram to modify his findings. Thankfully, although Mr Ingram wrote a second Report, it did not conflict with any essential findings in his first Report.
When I was given the verbal briefing by Kennedy of his findings he said that Ingram’s second Report had found that there was a strong possibility that Raymond had a heart attack before the crash. It said no such thing. Gross exaggeration is just a lie expressed in another way.
Kennedy would not give me a copy of the second Report from Dr Ingram so that I could confirm his assertion but in October 2014 I eventually received a copy from the Coroner’s Office. Mr Ingham said no such thing .
I could go through a boring pile of calls and letters to various Justice Agencies without any positive movements or progress but I will spare the reader that.
Raymond’s wife Maud, died over Christmas 2014 without ever finding any Justice. Not only had she to bear the loss of her husband through the selfish and reckless actions of Carson but she had to live with injustice and lies and corruption heaped upon her in the aftermath. Like me, she had lost all hope of a just outcome.
On 30th November 2015, I submitted a Judicial Complaint against Chief Coroner Leckey to the Lord Chief Justice.
That will be the subject of the next post.