One year on - family of man shot dead by police in Collier Row have been ‘forgotten’ and ‘can’t sleep at night’
PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 17 April 2019
One year on, the family of a man shot dead by police in Collier Row have said the “suffering keeps on going every day” and that they are still waiting for answers as to what happened the night their father and husband died.
Melissa Cottier has said her husband's death is being treat as a “statistic” and feels they have been forgotten about.
She said she will never forget the night after her son's 13th birthday, when her husband of 24 years, Richard, rang police and told them that they had to come and shoot him or he was going to shoot them.
The mum-of-three said it was clear Richard had been suffering from mental health issues, but 12 months on she says the family still haven't got any closure.
Her children still ask almost every night “why did they shoot dad?” and “why is dad dead?” and Melissa said she can't give them any answers.
Melissa Cottier, 39, told the Recorder: “How can we move on, when we know nothing more than when it first happened?
“We expect to know answers by now. We know no more when we last spoke.
“We have had no answers. We feel like we have been pushed to the side and forgotten about.
“We feel that we're not important enough. We feel like Richard was important enough but we feel like he has been just thought of as a statistic.
“It's been the worst year of our lives.”
“My children are still asking me every night about why don't we know what happened to dad, and I don't have any answers for them.
“They are all still having counselling, this has had a huge impact on their lives, on their mental health, one of my daughters hasn't been going to school, it's just not fair.
“They need answers so they can move on too.”
Pre-inquest reviews (PIRs) were set for dates in January, and March, however both were suspended due to a report by the IOPC – the independent police watchdog – not being ready in time.
However a PIR date has now been set for July 25.
She added: “We have been all geared up and ready for things to move on, and then at the very last minute they have been put back.
“The suffering just keeps going on.
“We can't get any closure to even try and rebuild our lives.
“If any of the PIRs had gone ahead we would have at least known something more about what happened.
“We don't want to look back on that night anymore but we have no choice because for now we still have no answers.
“When my children wake up at night and can't sleep, I can't give them any help, I try to help to get them back to sleep, but I don't have any answers.
“My daughter wants to know why her dad was killed, and all I can tell her is he was shot by police, and that's not a lot of comfort to her.
“It's affected all of them, my eldest son had to take time off work, and it meant he lost his job.
“He's suffering from depression, it is a horrible situation and I feel helpless.
“It still doesn't feel real to me, it feels like I am living someone else's life.
“It feels like it's all been brushed under the carpet.
“I don't feel like his life was important to them, and that's impossible to explain to my children.
“Imagine having to tell them that their dad's life is just a statistic, just a number, because right now that's how it feels.
“It's just a process and to them he [Richard] wasn't a person, to me he is more than just a person, he is my husband, the father to my children, and the person I loved more than anyone in the world.
“If he had died in any other way we would have known what happened by now, if he had died of natural causes, or in a car crash or anything we would have known.
“I have had to worry about how we are going to have to pay for this, how we are going to afford legal fees, we didn't ask for any of this to happen.
“They're not sympathetic towards us.
“I feel like he's just a number on a bit of paper, but he wasn't he was our world, and still is our world, nothing is going to bring him back but we just want some closure.”
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Romford Recorder. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.