Procedures ‘fail to recognise grief’ of families coping with death in custody

The charity INQUEST supports families bereaved as a result of deaths in cusody.
The charity INQUEST supports families bereaved as a result of deaths in cusody.

The inquest process can be particularly traumatic for families who do not have representation, said a charity which supports those bereaved as a result of deaths in prison.

Selen Cavcav, the caseworker for INQUEST who worked with Matthew Stubbs’ family, said: “Families bereaved by a death in custody not only have to come to terms with this traumatic event but also have to engage in the investigation and inquest process which can sometimes last for a year or more. These procedures regularly fail to recognise grief following a death in custody and exacerbate the feelings of bewilderment and despair.

Procedures regularly fail to recognise grief following a death in custody and exacerbate the feelings of bewilderment and despair.

Selen Cavcav, INQUEST caseworker

“Families often tell us about the ripple effect, as it is not just the immediate family members but everybody including children who are affected. The emotional and practical dimensions of their experience is huge.

“For example, attending an inquest, especially if you are not represented can be very traumatic. Families will not only have to listen to painful evidence in relation to how their loved one died but they will also have to deal with the state lawyers who are often more interested in protecting the reputation of the agencies involved, than finding out what happened in order to prevent future deaths.”

She also welcomed the work being done by Mr Stubbs’ former partner, Jenny Collingwood, to bring families together for mutual support.

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