Jay Abatan death: “Family can no longer trust Sussex Police”

Michael Abatan, brother of a black man who was murdered in a racist attack by a gang in Brighton 15 years ago has said their “family can no longer trust Sussex Police.”

The late Jay Abatan

Jay Abatan was racially attacked by a gang in Brighton on 24th January 1999, at the end of a night out to celebrate his recent promotion.

He was accompanied by a friend and his brother Michael, who were also attacked. Five days later, Jay died in hospital, having sustained severe head injuries.

So far no one has been tried for Jay’s murder. His family is however determined to fight for justice and promise to continue campaigning so that those who killed Jay can be brought to justice.

Michael will today meet Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne to discuss the lack of progress in the investigations.

Michael believes that “the police links with Jay’s killers has always made it impossible for Sussex Police to get justice for Jay.”

“It is apparent that there has been a wall of silence around the case,” Michael said, adding that he will not rest until he gets a full picture of what happened and why Jay was denied justice.

Jay AbatanIn a statement, the Abatan family said: “It has been revealed by Sussex police that a serving police officer had been with the group of attackers who attacked Jay on the night. This information had been kept secret from Jay’s family and Essex and Avon & Somerset forces.”

Michael said they were unable to understand why the police withheld from them vital information regarding his brother’s death.

“We cannot understand why such significant facts have been kept from us regarding the night my brother was attacked. Important material such as this should have been fully disclosed to us, Essex and Avon & Somerset forces and also to the public. I was led to believe that Sussex Police would be “open”.

“The  revelation that a police officer was with the group on the night that they attacked my brother and I, make the handling of this case all the more reprehensible.”

Michael believes racism affected the way investigations into his brother’s death were handled. “Jay’s was the only non-white murder case that year in Sussex and was the only one not to be given adequate homicide resources. It was the only case not receiving an incident room and inadequate resources. We were treated like second class citizens, just as the Lawrence Inquiry was reporting on institutional racism in the police. Given the catalogue of flaws we have been subjected to, this merits a full public inquiry into the case and I will be taking this up with the Home Secretary.”

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