Hornchurch father Les Balkwell: ‘IPCC report may shed light on son’s death’
The father of a young man found dead in a cement mixer nine years ago is hoping a new top level report will finally reveal answers to his death.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission announced this week it will release a report investigating the handling of Lee Balkwell’s death early next month.
The father-of-one, from Elm Park, was found dead in mechanics of a cement-mixing lorry at Baldwins Farm, Dennises Lane, Upminster, on July 18, 2002.
His father Les, 64, of Abbs Cross Lane, Hornchurch, made more than 100 complaints to the IPCC about Essex Police’s handling of the case.
Among his complaints was Essex Police’s refusal to allow an outside force, Kent Police, to independently reinvestigate the case – as recommended by the IPCC in 2009.
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An inquest in 2008 found Lee, 33, died of unlawful killing by gross negligence.
However Les has always maintained his son was murdered and hopes the IPCC report will finally answer questions about what happened that fateful night.
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He said: “We have battled for nine long years for justice for Lee and obviously it’s taken its toll on the family.
“Now, finally, we may get our answers.”
His legal representative Tony Bennett added: “The current complaints to the IPCC were made in 2007 and the final report will be issued over four years later. Whatever the outcome of the report, we shall always be grateful for the time and attention given by the IPCC to their investigation.”
Mr Bennett expected the report to cover what he described as “The outrageous decision in 2009 of Essex Police to flout the IPCC’s very clear recommendation that there should be an independent investigation by an outside force into the death of Lee Balkwell.
“The law must be changed to allow the IPCC to direct an investigation by an outside police force where they see fit to so.”
Visit the Recorder website for a full analysis of the IPCC report in January: www.romfordrecorder.co.uk