Search

Lee Balkwell’s father to be paid damages by Essex Police after High Court ruling

PUBLISHED: 16:15 15 October 2015 | UPDATED: 16:16 15 October 2015

Les Balkwell with a picture of his son Lee, who was found dead in a cement mixer in 2002

Les Balkwell with a picture of his son Lee, who was found dead in a cement mixer in 2002

Archant

The father of a man found crushed in a cement mixer 13 years ago, will be awarded damages after the High Court ruled the police had breached Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court heard today that Essex Police recently admitted a “failure to carry out an effective investigation” after Lee Balkwell was found dead at a farm in Dennises Lane, Upminster, on July 18 2002.

Master Roger Eastman concluded that the force was in breach of its duties under Article 2 – “the right to life” – which places an obligation on the state to ensure an effective official investigation is carried out where there is a death, or in some circumstances serious injury, involving, or potentially involving, a breach of the article.

Lee’s father Les, 68, of Abbs Cross Lane, Hornchurch, told the court he believes there has been a “total cover-up of the truth” by the police and called it “outrageous” that the force’s admission of failures in its investigation has only now come to light.

Mr Balkwell, who has spent more than £200,000 on legal action, told the court: “I am not interested in the money. I am interested in exposing Essex Police and the corruption.

“I wish to have a proper chance to explain to the court how big the failures were to conduct a proper investigation into my son’s case.”

The Recorder reported how new father Lee, 33, was found crushed between the outside of the cement mixer drum and chassis, with his legs twisted on a pile of rubble.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission report, published in 2012, found eight senior officers made 25 errors in a “seriously flawed” investigation.

It found no evidence of corruption and Essex Police made no plans to reopen the investigation.

Speaking outside court, Mr Balkwell said: “I am quite happy they have accepted liability, but very disappointed this took three and a half years.

“I am adamant that I want the truth of my son’s death to come out.”

The family have previously been awarded compensation of £12,000 by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

A three-day hearing will now be scheduled for next summer, where the sum of damages to be paid to Mr Balkwell will be decided.

Latest Romford News Stories

11 minutes ago

Havering is the second best borough in London for not wasting water, according to a new report on the affordability of fresh drinking water across the capital.

Yesterday, 17:00

The headteacher of a Hornchurch secondary school has revealed how she hopes a number of small changes to the average school day will add up to big results for her pupils’ futures.

Yesterday, 15:50

Nearly two months after the Travellers left the site all of the rubbish has finally been cleared.

Yesterday, 12:57

The air ambulance landed in the school field and took the teenager to hospital.

Yesterday, 12:56

A number of streets in Romford are set to be closed to the public over the summer months as part of an eight-week upgrade to the town’s major gas pipes.

Yesterday, 12:06

The Mayor of Havering opened a new office space in Romford Town centre that is designed to encourage businesses to work together.

Yesterday, 11:00

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell reflects on the gallant work of the RAF in both the past and present.

Yesterday, 07:00

A third planning application has been submitted to build on a Rainham open space despite a campaign by residents for the area to be protected by village green status.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The next step in renewable energy could be right beneath your feet as you walk through a Romford shopping centre.

There are many reasons people decide to join a gym. Some want to pack on muscle for strength, train for endurance, or lose weight. But did you know it also does wonders for your mental health? Two members at Romford’s Better Gym in the Market Place talk about their personal fitness journey and the importance of replacing bad habits with good ones.

Sean Watson, director at the family-run St Michaels Homes which runs Howard Lodge and Dudbrook Hall, answers the common questions people have about care homes.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now