Search

Retiring police chief takes legal action against dad of man found dead in cement mixer in Upminster

09:00 12 January 2014

Les continues to seek answers about his son Lee

Les continues to seek answers about his son Lee's death more than 11 years ago

Archant

A grieving father seeking the truth about his son’s death is being threatened with legal action by the outgoing police chief of the force responsible for an investigation.

Essex Police chief Jim Barker-McCardle is being sued by Les Balkwell over alleged breaches of human rightsEssex Police chief Jim Barker-McCardle is being sued by Les Balkwell over alleged breaches of human rights

Chief constable of Kent Police, Ian Learmonth, says he was “seriously libelled” in a newspaper article last month by Les Balkwell, whose son died in a cement mixer in Upminster more than 11 years ago.

Lawyers for Mr Learmonth are also considering public order and harassment proceedings against Les, claiming he has been persistently “abusive, insulting and malicious” towards the officer.

It comes at the same time as Les is suing the head of a different police force for failings in an earlier investigation into the death.

Les’s son, Lee, 33, was found trapped between the drum and chassis of the mixer at Baldwins Farm, Dennises Lane, in July 2002.

Lee was found dead in a cement mixerLee was found dead in a cement mixer

Essex Police said the death was a tragic industrial accident and closed the case after 19 days.

A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), released in January 2012, found the original probe was “seriously flawed”, for which Essex Police chief constable Jim Barker-McCardle apologised.

Solicitors for Les, from Hornchurch, submitted a detailed damages claim to Leeds High Court a year ago against Mr Barker-McCardle, claiming his force breached the Human Rights Act by failing to carry out “an effective investigation into Lee Balkwell’s death”.

The IPCC has twice suggested an outside force independently reinvestigate Lee’s death. It is currently being undertaken by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.

Ian Learmonth is seeking reparations from Les BalkwellIan Learmonth is seeking reparations from Les Balkwell

But, in another twist to the 11-and-a-half-year saga, retiring Kent Police chief Mr Learmonth last week threatened defamation proceedings against Les after the newspaper article linked the officer to the original Essex probe.

Mr Learmonth had been a chief superintendent in the Essex force at the time of Lee’s death and was later temporary assistant chief constable for crime.

Les formally complained to Anne Barnes, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, in June about Mr Learmouth’s involvement in the current investigation.

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 16:28
Paul Allen (first on the right) parading through Romford on Armed Forces Day

A war veteran who travelled from Hertfordshire to take part in the Armed Forces Day celebrations has been left “devastated” by a parking ticket issued to him.

Yesterday, 16:21
Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia at The Oaks Nursing Home in Upminster, with exhibits such as a wind-up gramophone, and a gas mask from the Second World war.
Edna Dove, age92

Elderly residents of a care home were taken on a fun trip back in time when Upminster Tithe Barn Museum of Nostalgia visited with items from yesteryear.

Yesterday, 16:15
Pupils take part in Havering's Junior Citizen scheme

More than 1,400 pupils from year six classes have been learning to protect themselves from knife crime, drugs, and other potential dangers.

Yesterday, 11:21
Artist's impression of Romford leisure centre

The design for Romford’s new leisure centre will be “futuristic”, according to the chairman of a design company.

Yesterday, 07:00
General view of the Home Office building in Westminster, central London, where the inquiry was initiated. Credit: PA images

People with a link to a children’s home, where dozens of young people were sexually abused, have been asked to come forward to take part in an inquiry.

Tue, 17:12
The 'Pride' sign which was passed among colleagues across several of the Trust’s wards and departments

Staff at both Queen’s and King George Hospital have banded together to celebrate their colleagues from Europe and across the world.

The man pictured in Romford on Saturday with a t-shirt which read,

A man pictured wearing a T-shirt that read “Yes we won! Now send them back” has been lambasted by people across the country.

Tue, 10:43
Mecca Bingo, High Street, Hornchurch

The fate of a historic bingo hall should be sealed this week as a planning application to tear down the building has been recommended for approval.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Win a BMW 1 series

There are fewer cars currently on the market more stylish and exciting than the BMW. Known all over the world as one of the best car manufacturers, the BMW is renowned for sleek designs and fantastic high quality workmanship.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe