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Man found burnt under a bridge police not looking for anyone else! 

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Reinvestigation into the death of Kester David completed

Detectives have completed their reinvestigation into the death of Kester David, whose badly burnt body was found under a railway bridge in 2010.

They have concluded there is no evidence or information that a third party was involved in his death. Mr David’s family have been informed.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe met Mr David’s family on Thursday, 7 January to apologise for distress they suffered during the initial investigation period immediately following his death as well as shortcomings in that initial investigation.

Mr David was found beneath the bridge in Broomfield Lane, Palmers Green N13 at 11:00hrs on Wednesday, 7 July 2010.

It is thought he died in the early hours of that day. A post-mortem examination gave the cause of death as burns and inhalation of fumes.

Mr David’s death was initially investigated by officers at Enfield Borough who concluded his death was non-suspicious.

An inquest took place at Barnet Coroner’s Court on 31 January 2011 and recorded an open verdict.

Following concerns from Mr David’s family, two internal reviews into the investigation were carried out by senior officers from Enfield borough, independent of the original investigation, in September 2011 and January 2012.

Ongoing concerns from Mr David’s family prompted the decision to reopen the case.

In April 2012, the Metropolitan Police (Met) announced it would launch a fresh investigation into Mr David’s death on the basis that it remained unexplained.

Operation Harworth was set up by officers from the Homicide and Major Crime Command to establish the facts surrounding Mr David’s death.

After a month the investigation was independently reviewed by another police force which made a number of recommendations.

All these recommendations were accepted and incorporated into the investigation.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, the senior investigating officer, said: “We have pain stakingly identified and followed through every line of enquiry we can. We have remained in close contact with Mr David’s family and solicitors throughout, listening to their concerns and directly following up matters they felt remained unexplained or may have had a bearing on Mr David’s death.

“Not all questions have been answered but I believe we have taken all available lines of enquiry as far as is possible. We have taken 334 statements, generated and considered 1,536 documents and raised 1,177 actions for my investigation team to deal with.

“I have found no credible intelligence or evidence that would support the hypothesis that Kester was murdered.

“Kester was a hard-working, well-respected individual in his local community and we recognise how enormously difficult this time has been for his family. I hope they can find some closure from the conclusion of this reinvestigation.”

No arrests have ever been made in connection with Mr David’s death.

During the course of the reinvestigation a number of appeals were made, to local and national media and on BBC Crimewatch.

The night before Mr David was found, just after 21:00hrs, he was spotted on CCTV entering Texaco Service Station, Lordship Lane, where he purchased petrol in a jerry can.

Twenty minutes later he returned in his white Ford Transit van and put fuel in it, but the van broke down.

The RAC breakdown service attended and fixed the van.

About four hours later, at 03:23hrs on Wednesday, 7 July, a black man was seen on CCTV entering the forecourt of the same Texaco and buying petrol in a jerry can.

At 03.55hrs a man wearing the same clothing as the man at 03:23hrs and carrying a jerry can was seen walking north along Green Lanes, toward Bloomfield Lane.

Experts have studied the footage and said there is a “moderate to strong” possibility this was Mr David on each occasion.

At about 02:30hrs on Wednesday, 7 July 2010, two men were seen in an alleyway near Maple Leaf Court, on the other side of the railway line to where Mr David was found.

One of the men appeared to be squeezing through a fence (not the railway fence) into the alleyway that runs at the side of Maple Leaf Court.

Both men then walked to the right behind a red brick building.

In order to reach where Mr David was found, they would have then had to mount anti-climb fencing next to the railway line, cross the line and tackle another anti-climb fence.

These men have not been traced but significant enquiries have been carried out and officers are as confident as they can be they are not linked to Mr David’s death.

Two men were seen walking across Morrisons’ car park, close to the scene, at 03:45hrs that day. They walked towards the far corner where there were charity recycling bins.

There was also an anti-climb fence separating Morrisons’ car park from Travis Perkins’ yard next door with large spikes on top.

Even if the men had managed to climb the fence, they could only have accessed Travis Perkins’ yard as the railway arch where Mr David was found was further separated by a padlocked gate encased by more anti-climb fencing. Motion-activated CCTV did not activate.

The only way to access the railway arch would have been to climb down from the bridge above, a drop of more than three-and-a-half metres.

It would have been extremely difficult for someone to have forced Mr David to climb down against his will and officers have found no evidence anyone did so nor any reason why they would wish to.

It would have been even more difficult for anyone to climb back up onto the bridge afterwards.

These two men may be the same men seen at 02:30hrs.

They have not been traced but significant enquiries have been carried out and officers are as confident as they can be they are not linked to Mr David’s death.

Officers were keen to trace Mr David’s missing Blackberry Curve 8520 mobile phone.

It was used, i.e. at least switched on, on 14 and 15 July 2010 in the general vicinity of Wood Green shopping centre and on 22 July around the area of Whittington Hospital.

It would have been locked so no calls could be made. It has not been used since. The phone remains outstanding despite extensive enquiries.

Two days before Mr David’s death, a relative called his BlackBerry. A man who wasn’t Mr David answered the phone.

This person has not been identified despite extensive enquiries.

Officers were anxious to trace the author of an email sent to police.

Two weeks after Mr David’s death, Enfield Safer Neighbourhoods team received an email from a ‘Sharon Clarke’, who appeared to have known Mr David well.

Sharon claimed to know who was responsible for his death.

Despite extensive enquiries she has not been traced.

The media appeals issued during the course of the reinvestigation generated just four calls – none of the information provided has taken the inquiry forward.

Mr David was born in Grenada and turned 53 the day before his death. He lived in Russell Avenue, Wood Green, N22 and was a part-time bus driver with Arriva working from the Wood Green depot. He was of previous good character with no links to criminality.

During the course of the reinvestigation there was speculation Mr David was a police informant – in accordance with National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) guidelines this can be neither confirmed nor denied publicly but all concerns that the family have raised have been thoroughly investigated and they have been kept fully informed.

The evidence gathered during the course of the reinvestigation was presented to the Met Commander for the Homicide and Major Crime Command and Independent Advisory Group members before the decision was taken that the inquiry was complete and there were no further matters to follow up.

The senior coroner for north London has considered the reinvestigation report and has stated that the open verdict recorded at the original inquest should stand.

Anyone with new information about Mr David’s death can still call the incident room on 020 8785 8099 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The two internal reviews identified errors in the initial investigation but none that would have altered the outcome of the inquiry. The reviews also found no evidence of racism.

Following these reviews, Mr David’s family made a formal complaint in April 2011.

The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards investigated the matters raised in the complaint.

Misconduct notices were served against three officers involved in the original investigation – a Detective Inspector (DI), a Detective Sergeant (DS) and a Detective Constable (DC) – and some aspects of the complaint were upheld.

The findings were appealed by Mr David’s family and the matter considered by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The subsequent IPCC report upheld some further elements of the complaint, specifically around aspects of the original investigation by the DI and DS. Management action was recommended but both officers had retired.

There was no case to answer about complaints against the DC, who remains within the Met.

The IPCC report made further recommendations that the Met should apologise to Mr David’s family for any distress they suffered during the initial investigation period and that the Met make it standard practice to inform a complainant if the officer subject of a complaint retires.

Of note is that changes to police regulations mean an officer facing potential gross misconduct proceedings is now prohibited from retiring or resigning.

The IPCC did not find the original investigation flawed due to Mr David’s ethnicity or family.

As a result of the Met’s initial handling of Mr David’s death and similar cases, the Met has changed the way it works.

In any similar set of circumstances, cases where someone has died as a result of a fire are now investigated by the Homicide and Major Crime Command from the outset.

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Police Dog Blue finds missing vulnerable teenager hidden in woodland undergrowth

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Police Dog Blue and his handler from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (BCH) Dog Unit found a vulnerable teenager on Wednesday (October 18).

Officers were called to an address in Friday Bridge, Cambridgeshire at around 10.45pm after concerns were raised about a teenager who had gone missing.

Due to concerns for her welfare, PD Blue and his handler were also called to assist with the search.

German Shepherd Blue was deployed and began searching the local area. Whilst going down a nearby lane, Blue led his handler into an area of woodland and undergrowth.

It was here that the pair found the missing teenager. They were then able to provide immediate care before other officers arrived to take her home.

Inspector Iain Clark, who is the head of the BCH Dog Unit, said: “The officers had numerous places to search and I am glad PD Blue and his handler were able to provide assistance, which saw the teenager safely found within a short period of time.

“I am proud of their work and this is another great example of how the BCH Dog Unit can support other officers around the three counties.”

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Man admitted to racially harassing security guards at Student Halls

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A man who admitted racially harassing security guards at student halls has been served with a Community Order and a fine.

The 22-year-old from Luton pleaded guilty to two counts of racially aggravated harassment and criminal damage at Luton Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday). The sentencing followed an incident in student halls in Luton on 24 September.

Hate Crime Sergeant James Hart said: “This was an unacceptable incident which was extremely distressing for the victims. We won’t tolerate hate crime in our county as everyone has the right to live free from fear or harassment.

“We hope this case will provide reassurance to victims that we take hate crime offences very seriously. Victims should not have to suffer such abuse and should feel comfortable reporting their experiences to the authorities.”

The man was handed a 12-week curfew with electronic tag and must pay £100 compensation to the victims.

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Kerry Blakeman & CMPG in UK’s first motorway policing 360 video streamed LIVE

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Thousands of people viewed the amazing 360 footage from a police car responding to a live incident on the motorway.

While officers responded to the incident viewers followed live from inside of the police car with the latest 360 video which was streamed live.

The broadcast with the Central Motorway Policing Group (CMPG) was shared across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat and went down very well with viewers.

In a number of Live videos shared insightful inside content which included LIVE motorway patrol and responding to an urgent incident on blue lights.

CMPG look after the region’s motorways alongside Highways England , 365 days a year 24/7 which includes West Midlands, West Mercia and Staffordshire.

The series of videos took viewers out on patrol with motorway cops, giving them a 360 degree look at how officers respond to an incident on the region’s motorways.

The 360 video streamed LIVE on Periscope for Twitter and received more than 13,100 views.

Operations Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman, head of CMPG Dean Hatton and Highways England Manager Frank Bird also answered questions throughout the night from followers about a range of topics.

Viewers were also shown how the force is educating drivers on how drink, drugs and tiredness can have an effect on driver’s perception through a simulator funded by BDV recovery.

The award-winning close pass initiative was also demonstrated by PCs Hodson and Hudson who have been nominated for an award in this year’s police Twitter awards.

Members of the public really enjoyed the 360 interactive videos and commented on how fascinating the work was that is being carried out.

Throughout the course of the evening, the live broadcasts were viewed more than 92,000 times and the posts reached more than 266,000 people across all of the force’s social media networks.

Kerry Blakeman said: “We were overwhelmed with the support from members of the public and happy that we could show our followers an insight into how CMPG police the region’s motorways as well as a range of other things to keep the public safe.

“CMPG are a crucial resource that help us serve and protect the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“We’ll continue to innovatively use social media to reach as many people as possible and share the good work that all our officers and staff do on a daily basis.”

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