Letter to the Home Secretary about justice for Jay Abatan

The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP

Home Secretary

Home Office


February 27th 2024


Dear James,

I am writing with reference to Early Day Motion 349 concerning the case of Jay Abatan, who was the victim of a racist murder in Brighton 25 years ago. New information has recently come to light about the case, including allegations that Sussex Police officers went on holiday, dined and partied with suspects arrested over the attack. This comes further to a catalogue of errors by Sussex police, as identified by internal police reports and summarised in the link above, including that they:

  • reduced the number of officers on the investigation after Jay died;
  • potentially missed “many” witnesses;
  • wrongly said one witness saw nothing when in fact they did and had been so close that they had called an ambulance for Jay;
  • failed to investigate the suspects and their potential links and history;
  • failed to interview one witness for over a year. When the interview finally took place, the witness was able to name 11 other people present at the scene.

I am sure you will share my concern that there’s credible evidence of police officers acting to shield Jay’s killers, that wrongdoing at Sussex police hasn’t been properly investigated and that nobody has been convicted for the fatal attack. I would therefore be grateful for your comments on the Early Day Motion, tabled to mark the anniversary of Jay Abatan’s death and which reads as follows:

That this House expresses concern that 25 years after Jay Abatan was killed in a racist attack in Brighton his murderers have still not been brought to justice; notes that Sussex police have apologised to Jay Abatan's family for the multiple failures in the way the investigation was conducted, as revealed by subsequent reports into his murder; further notes that a 2010 inquest into Jay’s death returned a verdict of unlawful killing; considers that not all the overarching issues raised in the Macpherson report appear to have been addressed; recognises that Michael Abatan has been campaigning since 1999 for justice for his brother and that there are countless other families of the victims of racially motivated murders who have been let down by the criminal justice system; calls on the IOPC to conduct an independent investigation into Sussex Police’s handling of Jay's death and for a different police force to take over the investigation; and further calls on the Secretary of State for the Home Department to establish and chair a Race Equality Steering Group to help ensure oversight of progress in addressing race equality across all police forces in England and Wales, as recommended by the Home Affairs Select Committee.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

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