New Inquest Into County Durham One Punch Victim's Death

The family of County Durham teenager Kristian Thompson has welcomed a decision by High Court Judges to order a fresh inquest into his death.

The 19-year-old, from Burnopfield, had collapsed and died in July 2011, nine months after being attacked on a night out with friends.

At a previous inquest into Kristian's death, County Durham and Darlington Assistant Coroner Crispin Oliver recorded an open verdict.

The family, who are represented by Leeds-based solicitors Lester Morrill, applied for and obtained a Fiat from the Attorney General granting the family permission to apply to the Admin Court for the original inquest to be quashed.

Now their campaign has been successful, with Judge Peter Thornton QC and Lord Justice Burnett ruling that earlier proceedings had not properly investigated the role epilepsy may have played in the teenager's death.

They said the fresh inquiry should happen as soon as can be reasonably practicable.

Judge Thornton QC said:
"It is our opinion that there should be a fresh inquest to examine these matters.

We cannot say what the outcome of the fresh inquest will be and whether the medical cause of death will be ascertained. That will be a matter for the senior Coroner, with or without a jury.

We are therefore satisfied that, as a consequence of insufficiency of inquiry, it is necessary and desirable in the interests of justice that another inquest should be held."

In a statement today, Kristian's family said:
"We feel ecstatic. This is exactly what we have been fighting for these past three years.

All we want is justice for Kristian. We now look forward to a fresh inquest assisted by our legal team.

We hope we finally get the answers we have been desperately searching for."

Gemma Vine, acting head of Lester Morrill's civil liberties department and the family's Solicitor, said:
"This has been a long and laborious process for us and the family and we are delighted by today's ruling and the quashing of this inquest.

We will now concentrate on assisting the Senior Coroner with his investigations into the fresh inquest to ensure that all relevant issues are properly explored."
 

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