Fight to honour Leeds victim of brutality to be relaunched

David Oluwale was found dead in the River Aire.
David Oluwale was found dead in the River Aire.
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A campaign aiming to create a permanent memorial to a Nigerian immigrant who died after being persecuted by police is to be relaunched.

The David Oluwale Memorial Association was set up to educate people about his story, and to promote understanding of mental ill-health and homelessness, as well as combat injustice.

Mr Oluwale arrived in the UK from Nigeria in 1949 and was found dead in the River Aire twenty years later.

During his time in the country he had spent time in prison, in a mental hospital and years sleeping rough on the city’s streets.

In 1971, two Leeds police officers were acquitted of his manslaughter but imprisoned for assaulting him.

Over the years his story has been told in books and plays, while the association’s work to create a memorial has recently picked up pace and it is set to become registered as a charity.

Now campaigners are to hold a relaunch event on unused land close to the River Aire on January 23.

Max Farrar, from the association, said they were negotiating with Asda – which owns the land on Water Lane – to lease the space for the garden.

“The aspiration is that it will become a place of quiet reflection,” he said.

“We want people to remember the tragedy but we want to use it as a platform for people in the city to be thinking creatively and listening to the problems that still exist of homelessness, mental ill-health and destitution.”

The event on January 23 will involve animations and poetry, as well as a showing of Wandering Abroad, a short film by artist Corinne Silva about David Oluwale, and Nigerian food.

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