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The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

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The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by Tony Bennett on 05.09.13 12:33

Placing this here for reference, to include a timeline, summary background, and the latest developments including Les Balkwell's recent complaints to the IPCC against Kent Police,to Director of Public Prosecutions about the CPS, and to the new Kent Police Commissioner for Crime, Mrs Ann Barnes, against Ian Learmonth, the Chief Constable of Kent Police

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AN UPDATE ON THE INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE DEATH OF LEE BALKWELL

5 September 2013

It was 11 years and 59 days ago today that the Balkwell family were woken in the early hours of Friday 18 July 2002, to be told that their beloved Lee was dead. The Ambulance Service had been called at 1.03am by David Bromley, owner of one of two bungalows at Baldwins Farm, between Upminster and South Ockendon, Essex. Also living at these two bungalows were Linda Bromley (his wife), Simon and Scott Bromley (his sons), and Susan Lawrence, the common law partner of Simon Bromley. Lee had been working as a cement mixer driver and labourer, employed by Simon Bromley, the sole owner of Upminster Concrete. The Bromleys and the police were very quick to call this ‘a tragic accident’. The Bromleys soon afterwards paid a large sum of money to Lee’s partner, and mother of their only child, Lorraine Mitchinson.
A CCTV tape exists of that night’s events. It shows Glen Nicholls, a known drug-dealer, bringing a large quantity of drugs (cocaine) on to the site, at about 8.00pm. It shows others arriving by car to collect supplies of drugs.

I provide below a timeline of significant events, and below that, an update on recent events.  

Timeline

2002

18 July, 1.03am: David Bromley rings Essex Ambulance Service reporting ‘a man hanging out of the back of a cement mixer’. Lee Balkwell was already dead.
6 August: Simon Bromley was questioned under caution by DSgt Jason Weald (now with the Met Police). DCS Bull was the S.I.O. on the case; Weald was the I.O. Simon Bromley is the only person to have been questioned under caution until November 2012. Weald begun the interview by saying: ‘Simon, I want to tell you that the police view this as a tragic accident’. He completely failed to challenge Simon Bromley’s account of events. The IPCC in their final report (2012) severely criticised the conduct of this interview and found Weald guilty of misconduct.

23 August: DCS Bull passed a file to the CPS head lawyer for Essex, Christopher McCann, saying: ‘This is a tragic accident’. McCann rubber-stamped the clearly-flawed decision and failed to suggest to the police that their enquiry was flawed and that they should reconsider their conclusion. Later, in two reports (June 2009 and January 2012) the IPCC severely criticised both DCS Bull and other senior officers for a ‘seriously flawed investigation’.

October: Simon Bromley is prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive pleads guilty to the technical offence of failing to provide insurance for an employee: fined £500.

2003

February: Les Balkwell, frustrated at being fobbed off with a series of unsatisfactory answers to his questions about what really happened the night his son died, makes a formal complaint to the Police Commissioner for Administration (PCA), which on 1 April 2004 became the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCC). The PCA responded by asking Essex Professional Standards Department to investigate their colleagues. Essex appointed DI Hood, Deputy Head of Essex Police Professional Standards, to investigate Les Balkwell’s allegations of misconduct. This was a typical case of the police investigating their own alleged misconduct. At the same time, DCS Simon Coxall was appointed to carry out a review.

24 October: Simon Coxall arranges a briefing at the cement mixer for various experts to consider the evidence. He doesn’t ask them: ‘Was Lee killed accidentally or deliberately? - by being placed on the chassis bar of the cement mixer and the revolving drum switched on’’. Instead, he says: ‘This was definitely an accident. How did the accident happen?’ It was like the question: ‘When did you stop beating your wife’. None of the experts could give a satisfactory explanation of how Lee ended up in the position he was found in and how his injuries happened.

2005

January: The IPCC reports, after receiving DCI Hood’s findings. They claim, based on what we now know was a flawed report by Hood, that DCS Bull’s initial investigation was ‘thorough and competent’ - a finding completely overturned by the IPCC’s second major report on the case in 2012. Three officers were however given ‘words of advice’, i.e. reprimanded, for failures in the investigation. One of them is Gareth Wilson (see below), who was the S.I.O. on the case for the first few hours after Lee’s death.

April: David Bromley, Simon Bromley and Glen Nicholls arrested for drug-dealing by Operation Portwing. Later that year they are found guilty, convicted, and handed jail terms.

2006

6 July: Simon Coxall’s review has by now lasted nearly 3½ years. He has not even got the case ready for the Inquest. Les Balkwell, frustrated again at the delay in arranging the Inquest and the lack of progress and answers, launches a hard-hitting website documenting what he says are corrupt actions of senior police officers. He names Steve Reynolds, formerly Head of Essex Police Crime Division, now with the IPCC, as responsible, together with Bull, Coxall and Hood, for what he says is a comprehensive and cunning cover-up of the true circumstances of his  son’s death.    

7 July: Les Balkwell is told by DS Peter Coltman, Head of Essex Police Professional Standards, that a new officer from the Met Police, DCS Keith Garnish, has been appointed to carry out what Les is told will be ‘a fresh and independent, no-holds-barred’ review into the case. So the second review begins. The following year, however, Les Balkwell was to learn that Garnish had been a close colleague of Jason Weald at Barking Police Station. Weald had been at the centre of the ‘seriously flawed’ initial Essex Police investigation into Lee’s death.

2007

March: Les Balkwell learns that the Coroner’s Officer in the case, Philip Sitch, has been replaced by a Mr Derrick Bines. Later, whilst in conference with DC Ian Rayner at Brentwood Police Station, Les overhears Bines tell Rayner on the ’phone: “I am going to run the forthcoming Inquest as a tragic accident”. Rayner makes a statement confirming this remarkable statement and the Coroner, Mrs Caroline Beasley-Murray, is informed. She has no alternative but to sack Bines and order another Coroner’s Officer (the third in the case) to be appointed. The Inquest, listed for April, has to be adjourned, costing Les Balkwell thousands of pounds in wasted legal fees.

September 1: Just over 48 hours before the adjourned Inquest is due to start, Les Balkwell’s legal team is told that a key witness, David Bromley, was extradited a few days earlier to Germany to face robbery charges in Saarbrucken. Les’s barrister, Tony Ventham, asks for an adjournment saying that: ‘To hold this Inquest without David Bromley would be like watching Hamlet without The Prince’. The Coroner agrees to a second adjournment. Once again, this costs Les Balkwell thousands of pounds more in legal costs.

November: Les Balkwell makes over 100 complaints of misconduct against 18 Essex Police Officers to the IPCC. Many of these are not investigated because several officers promptly resign and claim their police pensions, thus avoiding a misconduct investigation altogether. One of them, Terry Haines, resigned from Essex Police the day he received notice from the Senior IPCC investigator that they wished to interview him.

The IPCC later agrees to conduct its own investigation this time, appointing former DCS Kevin Duffy as their lead investigator.

2008      

23 January to 9 February: The Inquest is held in Chelmsford. In the summing-up to the Coroner, Les Balkwell’s barrister (Tony Ventham again) says that ‘there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence that Lee Balkwell was murdered’. But despite that submission, the Coroner directs the jury that they have ‘no evidence’ on which to base such a verdict, and she does not allow them to bring in that verdict. When the foreman of the 10-person jury announces their unanimous verdict, he simply says: Lee ‘Balkwell was unlawfully killed’, The Coroner reminded him that that is not a lawful verdict, so he said, instead: ‘Unlawfully killed by gross negligence/manslaughter’. The Coroner accepted that verdict. The police looked crestfallen, but must now work on a different hypothesis to ‘tragic accident’.

July: Essex Police try to close down their investigation by submitting a final file to the CPS. Les Balkwell expresses concern that Essex Police is continuing to withhold key facts from the CPS, and at Christopher McCann remaining in place as the CPS lawyer. The Head of Essex CPS at the time, Ken Caley, upheld Les Balkwell’s complaint and appointed Nick Staite, a CPS lawyer from Cambridgeshire , as an ‘independent ’ CPS lawyer who would review the whole case and bring a fresh mind to it.
September: Two Essex Police Officers employed on the Lee Balkwell case visit Simon Bromley and Glen Nicholls in Belsmarsh Prison, where they are awaiting trial. They tell Bromley and Nicholls: “Don’t worry, Balkwell’s got nothing on you over Lee’s death, just keep schtum”.  

2009

29 June: The IPCC issue an interim report slating Essex Police for a ‘seriously flawed’ investigation. They decisively recommend that the case be handed to an independent police force without delay for a full-scale re-investigation.
September: After 3 months’ delay, the Chief Constable of Essex rejects the IPCC recommendation and instead appoints DCS Dave Mirfield of West Midlands Police to carry out a third review into the case, known as ‘Operation Abante’.

2010

March: Dave Mirfield submits his report to Essex Police, making 91 separate recommendations.

May 15: Essex Police meet to consider what to do.

August: Essex Police say they have secured the agreement of Kent Police to carry out the recommendations of Dave Mirfield’. Les Balkwell objects, claiming that Essex Police are not ‘independent’ for these reasons:
a) Both forces had set up, in 2008, a joint Serious and Organised Crime Directorate, comprising hundreds of staff from both police forces, hence it was not genuinely independent
b) Similarly, Essex and Kent Police co-operated closely with each other, shared back-office and other services covering a number of operational areas
c) The Deputy Head of the Essex-Kent joint Serious and Organised Crime Directorate, Gareth Wilson, had already been criticised by the IPCC report in 2003 for his failures during the critical first few hours of the investigation.

The IPCC overrules Les’s objections.

September: The fourth review and a potential complete re-investigation begins in Kent under DCS Lee Catling.  

Recent events

2011

Les Balkwell and his adviser hold several day-long meetings with DCS Catling and his team. Progress appears to be being made, although Catling denies that the original Essex Police investigation was either corrupt or incompetent and, at a meeting with Les and several members of his family, tells them repeatedly, that in his opinion was simply a ‘A Comedy of Errors’. This causes deep offence to the family.

2012

October: Lee Catling makes an announcement to Les and his adviser which suggests to both that the police are deliberately ignoring several key facts in the case. Questions are raised in writing with Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge, but no satisfactory replies are received. Eventually, weeks later, a formal complaint is made by Les, which Kent Police originally applied to ‘disallow’ for a whole string of reasons, including saying that Les’s complaints were ‘vexatious’, accusing him of only wanting to make complaints in order to write a book, and even claiming (falsely) that they had already been investigated. The IPCC emphatically rejected Kent Police’s attempts get the complaints disallowed, but have referred the matter back to Kent Police Professional Standards to investigate (the police investigating themselves again). Kent Police say they cannot investigate his complaints until the live investigation is completed.  

November: Simon Bromley arrested on suspicion of the gross negligence/manslaughter killing of Lee Balkwell, perjury and perverting the course of justice. Also arrested on suspicion of perjury and perverting the course of justice were: David, Linda and Scott Bromley and Susan Lawrence.

2013

January: Scott Bromley arrested and charged with intimidating a close family relative of Les Balkwell. He pleads guilty and will be sentenced on 9 September.
David Bromley arrested, charged and convicted for illegal possession of a firearm; he pleads guilty and is fined £350.  
Simon Bromley arrested and charged on suspicion of growing cannabis at Baldwins Farm. He has pleaded ‘Not Guilty’ and the case starts at Basildon Crown Court on 6 September (tomorrow).  

4 February: Les Balkwell and a close family member meet with CPS lawyer, Nick Staite, who gives him the shock news that his line manager is now Christopher McCann, the Essex CPS lawyer who rubber-stamped the conclusions of DCS Bull’s flawed investigation in the first place. Les Balkwell makes a formal complaint to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer Q.C.

25 March: Lee’s body is exhumed from Upminster Cemetery and Dr Benjamin Swift performs a second post-mortem. Contrary to his rights, Les Balkwell as the nearest relative is not allowed to see the post-mortem report.

April: A journalist draws Les Balkwell’s attention to an article on the internet, showing that Ian Learmonth, the Chief Constable of Kent, formerly worked for Essex Police and was promoted with effect from 1 September 2002 to Assistant Chief Constable responsible for Crime. That meant he was managing the Essex Police Crime Division at the very moment that Les Balkwell had begun to question Essex Police’s version of events. Those who had investigated and were reviewing the death of Lee Balkwell at the time were DCS Bull and DCS Coxall. As they both admitted, they both reported to DCS Steve Reynolds, who in turn reported to Assistant Chief Constable Ian Learmonth. Les Balkwell and his adviser were told none of this when he was asked to agree to the Kent Police investigation. It confirmed Les’s view that the Kent investigation was never truly independent. It was clear that Learmonth must have been a close working colleague with those who were involved in what the IPCC described as a ‘seriously flawed investigation’ and what Les continues to assert was a corrupt and sham investigation  Accordingly he made a complaint to the new Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, Ann Barnes. This complaint is currently being considered by the Kent PCC ,who has accepted the complaint for investigation.

Kent Police say that on CPS advice they have insufficient evidence that any of the following have committed perjury or have perverted the course of justice: David, Linda and Scott Bromley and Susan Lawrence. They are told by Kent Police that they are not going to be charged with either of these offences and are therefore released from having to answer to bail.

August: Frank Ferguson, Deputy Crown Prosecutor for the East of England, upholds Les Balkwell’s complaint and agrees that the CPS file on the Balkwell case will now be personally reviewed by him and by Grace Ononiwu, the Chief Crown Prosecutor for the East of England. However, other aspects of Les Balkwell’s complaints about Christopher McCann have not been upheld and, under the CPS complaints procedures, Keir Starmer Q.C. has been asked to have another look at Les’s complaints.    

The Current Situation as at 5 September 2013

Simon Bromley currently faces a charge of growing cannabis for sale. His trial starts on Friday, 6 September. In addition, he has been arrested, and is currently bailed, on suspicion of killing Lee Balkwell by gross negligence/manslaughter, perjury, and perverting the course of justice.

Scott Bromley has pleaded guilty to intimidating a witness in as serious court case and will be sentenced on Monday 9 September. He has been remanded in custody.    

David Bromley has been fined for possessing illegal firearms.    

David, Linda and Scott Bromley and Susan Lawrence are no longer facing possible charges for perjury or perverting the course of justice.

The current status of Les Balkwell’s complaints is:

Against former DCS Lee Catling: To be investigated by Kent Professional Standards after the live investigation into Lee’s death is concluded

Against Kent Chief Constable, Ian Learmonth: being investigated by Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Ann Barnes

Against Christopher McCann, CPS Senior Lawyer, Essex: Upheld; the case will no longer be reviewed by him but by the East of England’s two top CPS lawyers, Grace Ononiwu and Frank Ferguson; Keir Starmer looking at other complaints.  


BACKGROUND

10-minute YouTube video on the Lee Balkwell case

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0b7bpOQIXM

Three reports about the case in the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/dec/13/concrete-mixer-death-lee-balkwell
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/mar/14/body-cement-mixer-exhumed-detectives
http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/nov/14/cement-mixer-death-police-arrest-essex

Other recent press reports

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/10604254.Man_admits_witness_intimidation_in_Lee_Balkwell_probe/

http://www.echo-news.co.uk/news/10575725.Could_phone_found_in_Lee_Balkwell_s_coffin_hold_clues_to_his_death/

http://www.romfordrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/lee_balkwell_post_mortem_results_show_he_wasn_t_tortured_say_police_but_family_lodge_complaints_1_2339933

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Re: The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by PeterMac on 05.09.13 12:48

And not a squeak from Carter-Ruck ?

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Re: The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by Tony Bennett on 21.09.13 11:59

On Friday 20 September, Scott Bromley, having admitted the offence of intimidating a witness (a member of the Balkwell extended family) in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell (a relative), was sentenced to one year in prison by Basildon Crown Court.

Having served five months in custody, he wil be freed in a month's time.

He is the second member of the Bromley family to have been convicted in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell. In 2002, Lee's employer, Simon Bromley, was sauccessfully prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive and convicted of failing to provide public liability insurance against accidents and death. He was fined £500.

In 2005 both Simon Bromley and his father David Bromley received 5-year jail terms for drug-dealing as a result of the joint Met-Essex Police 'Operation Portwing'. A CCTV film captured the Bromleys and others dealing in crack cocaine on the evening Lee Balkwell was later found dead on a concrete mixer.

Early this year David Bromley was convicted of an offence under the Firearms Act and fined £350.

Simon Bromley now awaits sentence for the offence of running a 200-plant cannabis farm, also at Baldwins Farm.

The Kent Police investigation into Lee Balkwell's death continues.

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Re: The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by aquila on 21.09.13 13:11

Thanks for the update. This case is a bag of snakes.

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Re: The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by PeterMac on 21.09.13 15:53

Obviously the Bromley family did not have Carter-Ruck acting for them.
I wonder why not.

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Why wasn't Simon Bromley arrested earlier?

Post by Tony Bennett on 10.11.13 13:50

UPDATE ON THE DEATH OF LEE BALKWELL

On Monday this week, Scott Bromley, of Baldwins Farm, South Ockendon, Essex, was released early from jail after serving time for intimidating a relative of father Les Balkwell. The relative was a potential witness in the case.

On the same date (4 November), his brother Simon Bromley was sentenced to one year in jail for growing 200 cannabis plants on the farm.

He was arrested for this only because year ago - November 2012 - he and four other members of the Bromley family were all arrested in connection with the killing of Lee Balkwell, reported to the police at 1.03am on Thursday, 18 July 2002.

But why wasn't Simon Bromley arrested when I first reported the cultivation of these cannabis plants to senior officers, including intelligence officers, of three police forces (Essex, Kent and the Metropolitan Police) 17 months earlier?

IMO the answer is: high level police corruption.

Here's the e-mail I sent:

Subject: BROMLEYS' DRUG-DEALING: more evidence - 200 cannabis plants being grown at Baldwins Farm

June 2011

Dear [names withheld by TB],

We met when you came to my house with D/C/S [name withheld] to discuss (a) what had been happening to all my reports about the drug-dealing of the Bromleys and their associates, (b) recent new information from me and another about their continuing drug-dealing, and (c) arrangements for future reporting of any further intelligence I (or another) might receive about their ongoing drug-dealing.

200 CANNABIS PLANTS BEING GROWN AT BALDWINS FARM

The main purpose of this e-mail is to report to you an intelligence report I received from a lady in the London Borough of Havering*(1) earlier this week (I think Tuesday evening). I first mentioned this to both Mr Les Balkwell and to Acting D/C/S Lee Catling [of Kent Police - TB] at a meeting with them yesterday at a police station in Kent.

In short, the caller told me that Simon Bromley was growing 200 cannabis plants in his bungalow.

The way the information reached me was as follows.

On Tuesday evening the 'phone rang and the conversation went as follows:

Me: Hallo
Lady: Is that Mr Bennett?
Me: Yes, how can I help you?
Lady: Are you still helping Les Balkwell?
Me: Yes, very much so.
Lady: I've been following his case in the papers and I've got some information that may be of interest to you.
Me: By all means tell me, we are interested in any information that might help us.
Lady: Well, what it is is this. My son hangs around in Belfairs Park* with a few others and one of them is Simon Bromley's son, [name withheld - TB]. He's been bragging several times recently about his father having 200 cannabis plants growing in his bungalow.
Me: Where is this happening?
Lady: Belfairs Park. They meet there of an evening.
Me: Tell me, do you know whether [name withheld] is also dealing in drugs down there?
Lady: Not so as I'm aware. It's just his bragging about the 200 cannabis plants at the bungalow.
Me: OK, that's very useful, I'll pass that on to Les Balkwell and of course to the police. I haven't got your name, and you needn't tell me, but obviously if you get any more information about  [name withheld - TB] or any of the Bromleys and their drug-dealing, you've obviously got my 'phone number so please contact me again.
Lady: I will. How is Les by the way?
Me: Not that good, it's taken 9 years and we still don't have a result, we've got the Police Complaints body looking at everything and Kent Police are looking at the whole case, we hope we'll get there some day.
Lady: OK, I just thought you ought to know, that's all.
Me: Well, thank you very much for ringing, I really appreciate it.
Lady: No problem, I keep reading about Les's case in the papers, what happened was awful, if there's anything that comes my way, I'll keep you informed.
Me: Many thanks.
Lady: OK, bye.
Me: Bye.




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Re: The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by plebgate on 10.11.13 14:43

A woman worried about her son and the company he's keeping by the sound of it.   

Parents have a lot to deal with these days.   More needs to be done imo to stop it all, but the Authorities just do not listen and do not care.

I am glad we still have people like you Tony, fighting for justice, and indeed it is a fight for you and Les.

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Re: The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by Tony Bennett on 10.11.13 15:34

@plebgate wrote:A woman worried about her son and the company he's keeping by the sound of it.   

Parents have a lot to deal with these days.   More needs to be done imo to stop it all...
I could write a book about the way Essex and Kent Police have lost and manipulated evidence in this case.

I hope and pray that one day, soon, all that have taken part in this corrupt charade of an investigation are brought to account.

'plebgate', thanks for your comments, one of the key reasons I have pursued these matters (can't go into full details) is that every day that goes by that these known drug-dealers peddle their illegal mind-altering drugs, new and vulnerable teenagers are sucked into the world of abuse of drugs.

OK, I will give an example, certain people, who shall remain nameless, entice teenagers coming out of Hall Mead School, Upminster, with free drugs. It is so open, they do it in the very next street. And, as I've learnt, the teenagers attending this school even discuss on Facebook where to get drugs, how much they cost, and so on. Some of them are given lifts to the location where these drugs are stored, with full knowledge of the police. Indeed, some of these school pupils pay an extra fee for their drugs to be stored safely by the dealers! Before long.some of them become teenage drug addicts, stealing to feed their evil habit. 

I have reported all this times over for years to all three police forces (Essex, Kent and the Metropolitan Police) but damn-all is done, unless the police's hand is forced (they had no choice to act, when they raided the farm - but they could have done that 17 months earlier!).

It does make me very very angry, as I see kids' lives blighted, possibly for ever, when they should, instead, be maturing and gaining the skills to make their way in the world.

I wish I could say much more but have already probably said too much

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Re: The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by plebgate on 10.11.13 15:50

It's the same up and down the country I believe Tony.   Part of the problem is that quite a few of the people in Authority, from Politicains, Teachers, Police, Councillors have drug/drink problems themselves.  Until "officialdom" is cleaned up (properly) then things will continue as they are.   Who has the guts to do it, none of the current crop of politicians imo, we have said many times, we need honest, tough, strong minded people in politics - not the bunch we have today.

Problem is nobody like that will ever be chosen as a candidate in the first place as they would not toe the party line.

We only have to look at Charles Kennedy.  When he was leader of Lib Dems and trying to get elected as PM of our country (even appeared in an interview looking boozed up), not one of the Lib Dem. party spoke out about his "problem".   Once they lost, the knives were out and he was out.

If they had got rid in the first place, they would not have won, but people like me would have thought a lot more of them.   Out  for number one imo and sod the voters as long as they fill their boots with our money.

It makes me so annoyed and as you rightly say Tony, it is our children who are paying the price.  grrrrrrrr.


Edited to add link - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-517736/How-drink-destroyed-Charles-Kennedy-Menzies-Campbell.html


How many others like him are "representing us" ?

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Re: The Death of Lee Balkwell: NEW UPDATE 21 Sep 2013 - Another conviction in connection with the death of Lee Balkwell

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.11.13 20:57

MEDIA RELEASE, WEDNESDAY 20 NOVEMBER 2013, 10.00pm - IMMEDIATE

The Death of Lee Balkwell – IMPORTANT UPDATE

Kent Police have informed Les Balkwell and his representatives  that a decision will be made on or before Monday 25 November as to whether or not to charge Simon Bromley with the offence of the manslaughter by gross negligence of Lee Balkwell on 18 July 2002. He was arrested on 16 November last year on suspicion of committing that and other offences. He was on bail in the community for several months before being sentenced to 12 months in prison in September for growing a large number of cannabis plants at his home, Baldwins Farm, Upminster.  We are informed by police that normal procedures require that he either be charged or released from bail on Monday.

If Simon Bromley is charged with any offence, the matter will become sub judice and all but factual reporting about any proceedings will be forbidden.

Simon Bromley was also arrested last November on suspicion of perverting the course of justice and perjury, but for reasons unknown to Les Balkwell, Kent Police have decided not to bring charges for these alleged offences. Again, given the history, Les Balkwell is at a loss to understand why.       

PLEASE NOTE CAREFULLY ALL THE FOLLOWING RECENT AND SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS - and please don’t hesitate to contact one or both of us for further details.

1. Les Balkwell opposes the police’s decision to pursue a potential charge of manslaughter by gross negligence against Simon Bromley. He does so because, as his barrister Tony Ventham told the Inquest in February 2008, he believes that there is overwhelming circumstantial evidence that his son was killed as a result of wilful (not negligent) acts against him the night he died. He wants a prosecution to be brought, but wants it brought on the correct legal basis. He denies that Lee’s death was caused by Simon Bromley’s negligence.    

2.Moreover Les Balkwell has complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission against what he describes as the seriously flawed Kent Police investigation, which they began in August 2010. The main elements of his complaint are:

a)     Kent Police’s persistent refusal to accept that there is overwhelming evidence that the work of gunning-out setting concrete, on the night Lee died, completely ceased at 9.20pm. Kent Police have claimed that the Bromleys’ account of work continuing up to 1.03am (the time Lee’s death was reported by David Bromley of Baldwins Farm) is true, despite what Mr Balkwell alleges is compelling evidence that this is a fabrication

b)     the continued refusal of both Essex and Kent Police for over 11 years to reveal whether or not there was a Scenes of Crime Report. On 6 November 2013 Les Balkwell was shown what was claimed to be a Scenes of Crime Report but was no more than a series of notes by different police officers and not a proper Scenes of Crime Report. Les Balkwell was not allowed to view its contents. The documents shown to him were never produced at the Inquest in 2008

c)      The continued refusal of Essex and Kent Police to disclose the extent of mobile ’phone records relating to Lee’s mobile ’phone obtained originally by the police and from a SIMcard found in his coffin during the exhumation process on 25 March this year, and

d)     the revelation that the current Chief Constable of Kent, Ian Learmonth, was also formerly the Assistant Chief Constable (Crime) in Essex Police from 1 September 2002 onwards, and therefore had direct managerial and supervisory responsibility for the conduct of the initial Essex Police investigation into Lee’s death - an investigation subsequently described  as ‘seriously flawed’ by the IPCC in two damning reports (29.6.09 and 30.1.12) - which found 8 Essex police officers, most of them of very senior rank, guilty of 26 counts of misconduct .

3. Kent Police applied twice to the IPCC to disallow Les Balkwell’s complaints, on a number of grounds, including that his complaints were ‘frivolous’. The IPCC comprehensively rejected Kent’s applications and has ordered Kent Police Professional Standards to carry out an investigation. Les Balkwell, however, now considers it inappropriate that Kent Police should investigate itself on such a serious complaint and is asking the IPCC to carry out its own investigation into his complaints.

4. This week the IPCC upheld a further complaint by Les Balkwell, this time against the outcome of an investigation earlier this year by Ann Barnes, the new Police and Crime Commissioner of Kent, into Les’s complaint that Chief Constable Ian Learmonth did not disclose his previous very senior position in Essex Police, when putting forward Kent Police as being capable of conducting an independent re-investigation into Lee’s death. In a letter from Casework Manager, Steven Ireland (dated 14 November, copy available on request), the IPCC has ordered Ann Barnes to carry out a proper and full investigation into Ian Learmonth, who recently announced  his resignation as Chief Constable.

5. Les Balkwell has new medical evidence, namely a report by a well-qualified and experienced medical photographer, who states that injuries to Lee’s back were probably caused deliberately by whipping, and not by the revolving concrete mixer drum.  

6. This week Les Balkwell has also launched a complaint to the General Medical Council against Dr Benjamin Swift, a pathologist called in by Essex and Kent Police, and who carried out the recent second post-mortem following the exhumation of Lee’s body. His central complaint is that Dr Swift has based his conclusions on accepting the version of events the night Lee died that was put forward by the Bromley family, against all the evidence (more details on request). Crucially, also, Dr Swift has contradicted himself on the causation of certain injuries to Lee, originally said to have been ante-mortem, but now said to be post-mortem. 

There is much more than this to say about all of the above and as always we invite you to contact us for fuller information. Please note that Les Balkwell’s civil claim against Essex Police is proceeding to a preliminary hearing in the High Court shortly. That case is being handled by Simon McKay of McKay Law, Tel: 0845 123 5571.

We should like once again to thank every single one of our media contacts who have done so much for 11 years to keep Les Balkwell’s quest for justice in the news.

QUOTE FROM LES BALKWELL:  “I have totally lost confidence in the Kent Police investigation. They were always far too close to Essex Police. It has not been the independent investigation that the IPCC promised me. I have had to cope with forged documents and edited video recordings that have removed vital evidence. One of the worst moments was when my family met the Senior Investigating Officer for Kent, D.C.S. Lee Catling. At that meeting, he twice referred to Essex Police’s seriously flawed investigations as: ‘A Comedy of Errors’. Also, at a meeting on 6 November, I was told for the first time by the new S.I.O., Janine Farrrell, that Kent Police had limited their investigation to what happened before Lee’s death at 1.03am on 18 July 2002. They are refusing to look at the actions of police officers since his death.  I was dumbfounded. The IPCC, the police complaints system and Essex and Kent Police have all failed my son and now my family.  I hope that with a new Chairman, the IPCC may now conduct their own criminal investigation or force Essex to yield their control over this investigation to a truly independent and honest police force. After 11 years, the pain is just the same and we have no closure. I will not rest until all those responsible for Lee’s death, and those police officers who have covered up this crime, are convicted for their crimes”.  

CONTACTS:

Les Balkwell:  01708 446850

07908 752522

07925 999607

Tony Bennett (retired Solicitor, adviser to Les Balkwell)  01279 635789

07835 716537              

____________________

                            "Maddie's Jammies. Where is Maddie?" - Amelie, May 2007 -  "Maddie's Jammies. Where is Maddie?"


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