Thousands back calls for inquiry into police handling of man who died in street attack
THOUSANDS of residents have backed calls for a public inquiry into the case of a mechanic who died in a street attack.
Asian leaders in Tunstall are circulating petitions across Stoke-on-Trent to support their campaign for answers over the death of Israr Ellahi.
The 30-year-old father-of-three, of Stanley Street, Tunstall, died in hospital 12 days after suffering a fractured skull in a fight in the town in June, 2010.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is already investigating complaints into the conduct of some of the officers called to the scene of the fight.
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Four Stoke-on-Trent youths, Lewis Gilpin, Danny Munro, Rian Winspare and Joshua Taylor, are all serving custodial sentences after all admitting violent disorder for their part in the brawl.
Their sentences ranged from two years and nine months to 21 months.
Two other defendants, one of Mr Ellahi's brothers, Isbar, and his friend Shafiq Mohammed, were jailed for 42 months and 36 months respectively after admitting violent disorder in the same incident.
The campaigners want a public inquiry to consider:
The actions taken by police officers called to the brawl involving Mr Ellahi;
The decision by Staffordshire Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to drop a manslaughter charge against Munro;
The sentences handed out to the six defendants.
Community leader Parvez Akhtar, aged 46, of Tunstall, who is circulating the petition, said: "We are not happy with the whole case.
"There are a lot of questions which still need answering.
"We have a petition going around the Muslim communities to have a full public inquiry into the whole case.
"We are knocking on every door in the Asian community in Tunstall gathering names for the petition.
"We are also getting in touch with all the mosques in Stoke-on-Trent and asking them to support the petition.
"A lot of English people in Tunstall have also signed the petition.
"We want justice for Israr."
The IPCC investigation is examining the actions of two officers who dealt with Mr Ellahi immediately after the assault. It will examine what first aid and treatment was provided to Mr Ellahi, and also whether the officers' response was in any way influenced by the victim's religion or race.
Asked about the public inquiry calls, Chief Inspector Adrian Roberts, commander of Stoke-on-Trent North Local Policing Team, said: "All six defendants pleaded guilty which meant there was no trial.
"I acknowledge that the community has not heard the full facts of this case and that this has caused frustration. An inquest is due to take place and hopefully more details will then be shared in the public domain.
"The IPCC is also undertaking an investigation and we are fully cooperating."
CPS officials today declined to comment further on the case. The manslaughter charge against Munro was withdrawn following the death of an "important prosecution witness".