The family of a British man who died in police custody 13 years ago have been left outraged after finding out that a mix up at the mortuary meant they buried the wrong person.
Christopher Alder’s devastated sister Janet was yesterday informed that her brother was still in a mortuary following his 1998 death.
Relatives of the Falklands war veteran, who died after he allegedly choked to death in a police cell, thought they had buried him in 2000, but detectives now believe a woman, named as Grace Kamara, may have been buried in his place.
“[Police] told me that in 1999 a woman called Grace Kamara, who was about 60, died from a heart attack. She was kept in deep freeze because her family, who all live in Nigeria, were asking for repatriation,” Miss Adler said.
It is believed that mortuary staff only learned about the mix up after going to inspect Miss Kamara’s body ahead of her funeral in Sheffield due to be held in Sheffield last Friday.
Reports also say detectives have asked for Mr Alder’s family’s permission to exhume the body to positively identify it.
“It’s just unbelievable – the police even said to me that they can’t say for sure that it was Grace that was buried in Christopher’s grave. I don’t know what to believe,” Miss Adler added.
The father-of-two who allegedly choked to death on a police cell floor surrounded by officers on April 1, 1998.
He had been punched by British officers during an argument outside a nightclub in his hometown of Hull, but became hostile when taken to a nearby hospital. He was arrested for a breach of the peace and took him to Queen’s Gardens police station.
When he arrived at the station, he was unconscious with his trousers around his knees. He was apparently left handcuffed on the floor while arresting officers did nothing thinking.
Mr Adler lay dying for 11 minutes while the officers can allegedly be heard making monkey noises.
The officers were charged with manslaughter but acquitted at Teesside Crown Court in 2002 on the orders of the trial judge.
Last night Hull City Council said it was ‘appalled’ after being made aware of the situation.
Ken Fero from the United Families and Friend Campaign added: “I think it’s an appalling state of affairs that Christopher, after dying at the hands of the state, had his body kept by the state for thirteen years. The family have been given the wrong body to bury which the state knew about for at least the past two years and haven’t had the decency to tell Christopher’s family,”.