Mrs Shelia Sylvester's Statement 

Roger Sylvester Family Demand Independent Inquiry.


Thursday 17 August 2000, 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Outside the Home Office. 50 Queen Anne's Gate, London.  SW1H 9AT.


The family and friends of Roger Sylvester  held a vigil outside the Home Office on Thursday 17th August 2000 on what would have been Roger's 32nd birthday.  Roger died nineteen months ago and the family still do not know how or why he died. The family will be handing in a letter to the Home Secretary voicing their dissatisfaction with the investigation process into Rogerís death and demanding a full open and independent inquiry be held into Roger's death.


Sheila Sylvester, Roger's mother speaking on behalf of the family said,


"Tomorrow will be 19 months to the day our son was pronounced brain stem dead after his encounter with 8 police officers from Tottenham police station.

We are still no nearer the truth of what happened to Roger on the 11 January 1999. We also have grave concerns both about the investigation into his death and the time that it is taking the Crown Prosecution Service to reach a decision on whether any officers should be prosecuted.

We handed in a letter to the Home Secretary today voicing our concerns. You would appreciate that there are details of the letter we cannot talk about publicly we have been briefed that if the CPS decided to prosecute and there is a trial, it could be argued that this trial will be unfair.

In the letter we talked about the prolonged anguish we have been experiencing for the last 19 months. Not knowing how or why Roger died. We havenít been able to grieve properly and cannot get on with our lives. All our lives have been put on hold.

We talked about the frustration with a process, we feel is not designed to uncover rogue police officers, a process in which the police investigated the police and the fact that the force against which a complaint is made finances the investigation.

We stated how unhappy we are about how some statements have been taken and believe  important evidence has gone missing. Given the absence of evidence we are concerned about what conclusions will be drawn about the circumstances surrounding our sonís death.

We have learnt from the PCA recently there was a third investigation. Our family are angry that this investigation was concealed and we did not find out about it until the investigation was complete.

We raised the issue of policing in Tottenham, the fact that there have been a total of 3 deaths in custody, the death of a policeman and the constant harassment of some of the resident in Tottenham. We reminded the Home Secretary that Roger too complained that he was being harassed.

We believe Roger was fit and healthy - physically and mentally. We voiced our concerns that the decision to prosecute or not, is likely to be determined on medical grounds. The CPS have commissioning a further medical report to help them reach a decision.

As we remember Roger on his birth date, we will also be reflecting on the last 19 months of turmoil, the devastation Rogerís untimely death has caused us. Part of us died when Roger died.

We finally called for a full open and independent inquiry into, not just Rogerís death, but all deaths in custody, we also call for a Royal Commission into police methods in the Tottenham area."