Sarah Thomas a 35 year old woman of Asian origin died in police custody in Stoke Newington Police station on the 6th of August. She was arrested as she waited for her boyfriend Paul Doyle outside their flat in Finnsbury Park in North London. The police say she was acting suspiciously- in fact she was locked out. She was arrested and locked up in Stoke Newington Police station. The police say she "appeared to suffer a fit" - she went into a coma-an ambulance was called- but she died two days later.
Sarah was a healthy 35 year old with no police record and no record of fits. As she was dragged away to the station witnesses reported her screaming "help me, help me they're trying to kill me." Before there had been a full autopsy or inquest the chief of Stoke Newington Police station was saying that her coma was drug induced - in fact there is no evidence of this. Sarah is just one in a long line of people who have died in police custody- Steven Lawrence being perhaps the most well known. We in Ireland are no strangers to police brutality both South and North but the record of Stoke Newington Police Station is truly horrific. There have been more black deaths there than any other English police station
1971 Aseta Sims died in custody. 1978 Michael Ferraria suffered the same fate. 1983 Colin Roach died in the station. 1987 Tunay Hassin died in custody and Vandana Patel was stabbed to death INSIDE the station. Trevor Monerville suffered temporary paralysis and brain damage after being arrested by Stoke Newington Police 1994 Shiji Lapite, an asylum seeker, died after being arrested . At the time the Stoke Newington cops said he was acting suspiciously and went to arrest him- all he was doing was crossing the road for a take-away. An inquest jury found he had been "unlawfully killed" after they heard his voice box had been crushed and he had been kicked in the head by police. Despite this no officer was charged with his death.
We are demonstrating at the British Tourism Office in Dame Street at 2pm today in solidarity with the Justice for Sarah Thomas Campaign. We support their demands including: