One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Mother Slams Duggan Inquest Delay
The mother of Mark Duggan said today it is "heartbreaking" that she will have endured a wait of more than two years for the inquest into her son's death.
Originally the full hearing into the 29-year-old's death at the hands of armed police was due to open today, but it is now not expected to begin until September.
Speaking after a pre-inquest hearing at North London Coroner's Court, Pamela Duggan questioned why there had been such a long delay.
Her son was shot by armed police in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011 and today Judge Keith Cutler ruled that a full inquest into his death will start in September this year.
Mrs Duggan said:
"I hope it stays in September because I want to know how he died. I don't know why it was delayed but I don't think it should have been so long.
"It's heartbreaking for me, he's my son. It's taken me a lot of courage to come here today. He was only 29 and he was killed and he's got children.
"I'm not very well but I'm strong, Mark's keeping me this way."
Her sister Carole said that the family need to know what happened so that they can move on with their lives.
"We need a result. We all need to be able to move on in our lives, not that it's ever going to be the same again.
"We've been given assurances, so we'll see. Everything's there for the case to go along."
She slammed police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as "lax".
The court heard today that the IPCC's report on what happened is not yet complete.
"They're very lax about how they go about things, quite incompetent. We've never trusted the IPCC."
Mr Duggan's brother Sean Hall said:
"We've been waiting for a thorough investigation and it seems that all we've been given so far is a fob-off. We're no closer to knowing what has happened to our family member."
In court, Leslie Thomas, who is representing Mr Duggan's girlfriend Precious Douaihy, said "basic" investigations had not yet been carried out.
He told Judge Cutler:
"It is absolutely shocking to find ourselves here today and to hear your counsel saying that there are further investigations, basic investigations, to be conducted such as a reconstruction and forensics."
His feelings were echoed by Michael Mansfield QC, who is representing the Duggan family.
He told the hearing:
"They feel very simply that they have been seriously let down from the beginning."
Another pre-inquest hearing is due to take place on March 28 at the Royal Courts of Justice, followed by the inquest in the autumn.
Addressing the delay, Judge Cutler said:
"This is clearly very regrettable.
"Mr Duggan's family and loved ones had every reason to expect a speedy investigation into his death. They also have every right to have a full and thorough investigation."
Counsel to the inquest Ashley Underwood QC said:
"Mr Duggan's death was clearly untimely and tragic. It resulted from being shot by the police and so is a matter of some public concern.
"It's the death which is widely held to have been the catalyst for the riots of 2011 and so it's a matter of national importance."
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