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Saturday 1 November 2014

 

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Engineering student passes away while in custody at Durham prison

 

altNIGERIAN engineering student Boniface Umale has died in police custody at a Durham prison in mysterious circumstances after he was detained for an unknown offence.

 

Mr Umale was studying for a masters degree in pipeline engineering at Northumbria University in Newcastle when he was arrested on March 24. Details are still unavailable regarding the offence he committed but he was detained at Her Majesty's Prison in Durham where he passed away under mysterious circumstances.

 

Shocked by the development, his friends have got together and hired a solicitor to delve into the matter and have written to the Nigerian high commission in London asking it to demand answers. They are also asking for a post-mortem to find out exactly what led to Mr Umale's death.

 

Barrister Adeniji of Rock Solicitors, the lawyer hired to pursue the case originally apparently turned up at the prison to see his client only to be told that his body was being prepared for cremation. He was hired by the Idoma community in the UK, who are desperately seeking answers about what happened to one of their kinsmen.

 

According to an Idoma community spokesman, no one was informed of Mr Umale's arrest and it was not until much later that it was discovered he was in custody.  Mr Umale graduated in 2008 with an MSc degree in project management from Northumbria University and started another MSc programme thereafter, which he was doing until his demise.

 

Daniel Okpla, a spokesman for the Idoma community, said: "HMP Durham could not confirm if he was convicted of any crime and have not submitted any autopsy report to the Nigerian high commission despite several requests by it and the Idoma community in diaspora. Without confirmation from the Nigerian high commission, HMP Durham has indicated her intention to proceed with cremating the body without following due process.

 

"Family, friends and the entire Idoma community in diaspora have made it clear that cremation is culturally unacceptable and arrangement must be made to repatriate the body to the family at Otukpo, Benue state for a befitting burial. It is completely unacceptable that HMP Durham seem to be sweeping this matter under the carpet."


He added that Mr Umale's family and friends need to know when and why was he was arrested, the level of care and support he received while in police custody prior to arriving at the HMP Durham and why the police and the authorities failed to notify any one in UK or Nigeria of his arrest and detention until his death. Mr Okpla said his community would also like to know if Mr Umale's death was racially motivated or due to gross negligence and whether he was in solitary confinement without appropriate monitoring and risk assessment.

Comments  

 
+26 # Marika Sherwood 2013-04-10 07:01
I am appalled, horrified, disgusted. What were the police doing? How can they cremate someone who died in their custody without informing family/fri[censored]s? Sounds very much like a cover-up to me.
We appear to have no laws in this country which the police have to obey regarding their treatment of 'black' peoples of African origin/descent.
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+7 # Chris Adeke 2013-04-10 10:21
This is horrifying, sad and like Marika Sherwood commented-sounds like a cover up. Whatever it was, he has relatives, fri[censored]s and presently a student in an ins[censored]ut ion yet the UK police had no courtesy and sense to contact any of these. It's unfortunate. Dear Lord Jesus, i pray that you grant the family the for[censored]ud e the bear the exit of Engr. Boniface
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+6 # Eno Inyang 2013-04-10 10:43
This is really so sad, to think such things also happen in the so called developed countries.Bonny didn't deserve to die the way he did no matter what it was, and I pray God that the whole truth will be revealed soon. RIP Boniface, God grant everyone the for[censored]ud e to bear this irreparable loss.
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+2 # Innocent 2013-04-10 12:23
The Federal Government should get interested in this case. A scholarly Nigerian like Boni should not be treated like that. Its unacceptable! The Foreign Affairs ministry needs to act.
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+10 # Ola Taiwo 2013-04-10 17:00
This is quite barbaric for a country that prides itself as been civilised. Is this the Tory's way of immigration controls?
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+4 # Cllr Krishna James 2013-04-10 23:12
Very upsetting indeed and not new, how many more black man have to die in this way. It is shocking news. We must have justice for this young man.
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+6 # Amb. Sina Olowoake 2013-04-11 08:57
Apart from the death of this young man which is quite sad and painful, I can almost say with certainty that the police are likely to get away with this based on past records. It is sad that despite the number of deaths in police custody in the UK the number of officers made to face trial has been laughable.
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+7 # Iheanacho 2013-04-14 00:07
Am in shock, we graduated together in 1998 from UAM and have been in contact since. How can this happen to Jolly Good Bonny.
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+6 # carol pounder 2013-04-23 20:16
This is absolutly disgusting,anot her death in custody yet again!!!!!
THE AUTHOURITYS DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO CREMATE THIS MAN,THAT IS HIS FAMILYS RIGHT...
WHY DO THEY WANT TO CREMATE HIM????IS IT TO COVER THERE BACKS????WHAT OTHER REASON DO TGHEY HAVE TO CREMATE THIS MAN,YES HE NEEDS LAID TO REST,WHY NOT A BURIAL,I SUSPECT THATS BECAUSE YOU CAN HAVE A BODY EXHUMED AFTER BURIAL+ FURTHER AUTOPSYS CAN BE CARRIED OUT,BUT NOT AFTER A CREMATION.

HUGS TO ALL HIS FAMILY+FRI[cens ored]S DONT GIVE UP THE FIGHT,IM AFRAID YOU WILL NOW BE IN A LONG QUE,FIGHTING FOR TRUTH+JUSTICE WITH THE REST OF US.XXXXX
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+7 # janet alder 2013-04-23 20:48
The family is en[censored]led to a post mortem my name is janet Alder i am the sister of Christopher Alder who was killed by the police in 1998
the solicitor must make a urgent legal challenge
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+13 # Lee Jasper 2013-04-23 21:32
It is vital this family contact me. Their legal representative Rock Solicitors are completely incompetent and absolutely corrupt. I have personal experience of this firm and they are charlatans. I am experienced in these matters and I am happy to provide any advice and support the family may require, free of charge, If you have any contact with this family please email me;
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+5 # orville kunga 2013-04-23 22:54
Whilst the police are patting themselves on the back stating figures for race hate crimes are down in London, they continue to commit the ultimate in race hate crimes..Victims, whose only crime was not to have outrun the police..We must keep fighting as it could be anyone of us. Blessed love the family of this young, gifted brother, love to Janet Alder and the families still fighting for truth and justice."our tears will catch them"..and their shame will surely bury them!please keep us informed..will spread the sad news...
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+4 # regina london 2013-04-24 04:41
Quoting Iheanacho:
Am in shock, we graduated together in 1998 from UAM and have been in contact since. How can this happen to Jolly Good Bonny.


# Iheanacho Do you have the details of his family? A well known UK civil rights activist, Lee Jasper is trying to get into contact with him to [censored]ist his lawyers, he is well experienced in how to detail with this. If you do sent him a message via his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/EqualRightsUK. I think this needs to happen as soon as possible! I wish his family the best of luck x
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-1 # gary donaldson 2013-04-24 15:48
Dangerous places Police stations , legalised Murder takes place there almost every day .
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0 # stephen brown 2013-04-25 07:59
no-one should be treated like this whether scholarly of not it happens to often in our community
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0 # John O 2013-04-25 17:44
Please contact MOJUK urgent, can refer you to INQUEST foremost NGO proving free legal help for those seeking legal representation at coroners inquest and any subsequent investigations.
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0 # deborah johnson 2013-04-25 22:42
Scholarly or illegal immigrant, pls Where is Human rights in this case? Oh Lord, d blood of Boniface pleads for justice. Just like d blood of Abel that cried for justice in d bible. Something must be done fast, this is so heart breaking, unheard of and so dehumanising. God will judge.
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-1 # Oli 2013-04-26 11:07
I may have read it wrong but I believe it says he was being held in a prison not police custody which a two very different things... So all the police haters may unfortunately have to place their blame else where :-/
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+1 # MrBoppityHead 2013-04-26 13:21
As a British white male from an affluent area, I'm rather ashamed to say I've been sheltered from so much after reading this.

It actually saddens me to see so many have commented that they aren't even surprised by this.

Deepest condolences to the family.


Thank you for bringing such a miscarriage of justice to light, beggars the question why Fleet Street haven't jumped on this yet...
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0 # Alex Channon 2013-04-26 18:05
Speaking as a white Englishman but more importantly as a human being I'm horrified to read this story. I've obviously no idea about the circumstances of this young man's death but it certainly needs instant investigation. I do have Nigerian fri[censored]s and know how important a traditional burial is to the Nigerian community. To think the authorities wish to cremate the body without consent of the family or contacting others is disgusting beyond belief. I sincerely hope the truth comes out and this young man can be laid to rest in a decent manner.
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-2 # Princess Oma Abel-Un 2013-04-26 19:58
20 years on after the death of Stephen Lawrence, the debate has been whether the Police Force has changed. Obviously, from this case, they still have a very long way to go. Anybody arrested has the right to at least one phone call; which to is to enable someone/family/solicitor aware of their arrest. It also boggles the mind that the Police wants to cremate a person who has died in custody, why? What are they covering up that the body has to be cremated. It sounds like a major cover up because once that is done, that is it, no more evidence. However, I would say we must not get ourselves excited here so we can deal with it rationally.
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-4 # Jean-Baptiste 2013-04-26 21:40
To the above commenters: we are not interested in your opinions "speaking as a white Englishman" or "as a white British male". Such opinions are irrelevant, racially insensitive and uninteresting.
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-1 # unknown 2013-04-27 08:13
Quoting Oli:
I may have read it wrong but I believe it says he was being held in a prison not police custody which a two very different things... So all the police haters may unfortunately have to place their blame else where :-/

Accidently unliked but i COULD NOT AGREE MORE! people dont understand or want to understand the difference, horrific horrific event nonetheless
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+4 # Alex Channon 2013-04-27 15:17
Quoting Jean-Baptiste:
To the above commenters: we are not interested in your opinions "speaking as a white Englishman" or "as a white British male". Such opinions are irrelevant, racially insensitive and uninteresting.


Sorry my opinion is irrevelant, if you only want Nigerians to comment why don't you just say so.
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0 # Madeline 2013-04-27 18:47
Did anyone report it to the newspapers? I have searched a couple of sites including the Durham Times but found nothing. This is incredible to me - I cannot understand how this shocking and horrifying case has escaped the press and public attention.
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-1 # albert neves 2013-04-28 12:49
Our Police Force is a criminal organization. There is nothing to do with it. Only sack everyone, investigate every crime the comit, give a new trial to everyone presently in custedy, and make things right.
Our governments goes from Labour to conservatives, conservatives to Labour, and the British People continue Living in a Lawless Society.
Albert
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+2 # margaret 2013-04-28 13:46
This is indeed a sad situation. However, he was in prison and not police custody. You need to contact the Prison Ombudsman to investigate. Prisons cannot cremate an inmate or dispose of bodies without permission from family or country i.e Nigerian Emb[censored]y. Prison Service have a duty of care for prisoners and should have done everything possible to keep him safe whilst in prison. Clearly they did not do this, which is why they are not letting anyone have the autopsy report and why they are trying to "CREMATE THE EVIDENCE" his body.

Michael Loughlin is responsible for investigating deaths that occur in prison, young off[censored]er ins[censored]ut ions, probation Approved Premises and immigration removal centres whatever the cause of death.
contact details are :020 7035 2876
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+1 # anon 2013-04-30 12:18
http://durham.tab.co.uk/2013/04/30/deathhmpdurham/
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-1 # Tony Usumero 2013-05-04 20:48
It's very shameful and pathetic that this such evil and inhuman atrocity is happening here and it's being swept under the carpet right before our eyes.it is not acceptable all we that are concerned must come together and fight for truth and justice, should like to knw the solicitor and ppl that are concerned,we need to make the would knw what is happening here. It's share Evil.
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-1 # jenna freeman 2013-05-06 20:58
this is absolutely awful :(

i don't think everyone should jump on the opinion that this is a racist attack though, just because he's nigerian. it could well be race induced but we don't know that yet. it could happen to anyone of any race.

hopefully the cremation doesn't go ahead and we can find out what happened to this poor man.
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+1 # jenna freeman 2013-05-06 21:09
http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/engineering-student-%E2%80%98took-his-own-life%E2%80%99-prison

http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/local/northdurham/durham/10386920.Probe_launched_after_Durham_prison_death/

Apparently he was in prison for charges of rape and [censored]ual [censored]ault.
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0 # Temi Aghedo 2013-05-11 12:51
SO SAD ITS HAPPENING AGAIN . IF THE PRISONS AUTHORITIES HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR OR HIDE , WHY HAVE THEY NOT CONTACTED THE FAMILY / FRI[censored]S OR THE HIGH COMMISSION ? WHY ATTEMPT TO CREMATE ? THESE QUESTIONS NEEDS QUICK ANSWERS . MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE .
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0 # Temi Aghedo 2013-05-11 13:03
THANKS JENNA FREEMAN . WAS HE ON REMAND OR HAS BEEN SENTENCED ? WAS THE ALLEGATIONS PROPERLY INVESTIGATED BEFORE BANGING HIM IN JAIL ? THERE ARE CASES OF FALSE ACCUSATIONS AND FRAUDULENT ALLEGATIONS EVEN BY THE POLICE USING THEIR INFORMANTS OR CLOSE FRI[censored]S . HIS DEATH IS VERY AMBIGUOUS . THE NIGERIA HIGH COMMISSION SHOULD PLEASE STEP UP THE PRESSURE .
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0 # David Oche 2013-05-13 16:19
What is this world turning into, if this can happened in a country such as United Kingdom,one will ask are we save? It's indeed a very shameful and pathetic that such evil will occurred in such so called developed country.

This is a clear case of evil and inhuman atrocity is happening here and it's being swept under the carpet right before our own eyes.

My brother late Mr. Boniface Umale may your soul rest in peace.
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0 # K 2013-07-22 16:24
He was in prison for 3 different serious offences. . Nobody should jump on the band wagon and say it was racially induced without knowing facts. Yes jenna freeman thats exactly why he was in prison. Enough said.
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