Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

G20 death pathologist to face probe

Dr Freddy Patel is being investigated by the General Medical Council

The pathologist who claimed Ian Tomlinson died of a heart attack is being investigated by the medical watchdog after an inquest jury disputed his findings.

An inquiry has been launched by the General Medical Council into how Dr Freddy Patel's post-mortem examination differed with two other experts who said he died of internal bleeding.

Dr Patel was accused at Mr Tomlinson's inquest of making blunders which made it all but impossible to conclude with any certainty how he died on the fringes of the G20 protests in London on April 1 2009.

Dr Patel's claim that Mr Tomlinson died of a heart attack was dismissed by a string of experts who said he died of internal bleeding.

There was no formal announcement from the GMC but a source confirmed investigations into Dr Patel's conduct were under way.

An inquest jury concluded Mr Tomlinson died of the bleed as a result of Pc Simon Harwood's "excessive and unreasonable" force in shoving him to the ground.

Dr Patel's notes were said to be ambiguous and he did not order tests on three litres of fluid found in Mr Tomlinson's abdomen to confirm whether it was pure blood or - as he maintained - largely made up of a substance called ascites produced by liver disease.

This question was crucial because fellow pathologists Dr Nat Cary and Dr Kenneth Shorrock disputed Dr Patel's findings that the cause of death was coronary artery disease, consistent with natural causes.

An inquest jury which delivered an unlawful killing verdict earlier this week agreed with the other experts' conclusions.

News of the investigation comes after Britain's most senior police officer denied he was jumping to judgment and using Pc Harwood as a "fall guy". Sir Paul Stephenson was accused of being prepared to "surrender" the officer by the Ulster Unionist peer Lord Maginnis, who added he was "horrified" by the police stance. The Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC is to examine whether there is enough evidence to charge the Scotland Yard officer with manslaughter.

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