Dr Freddy Patel, who said news vendor died of heart attack after G20 protests, should not have been registered as an expert, says Radio 4’s The Report
Dr Freddy Patel conducted the first postmortem examination on Tomlinson two days after he collapsed and died in the City of London in April last year. Moments earlier, he was filmed being struck to the ground by PC Simon Harwood, a Met officer.
The officer, a member of the Met’s controversial Territorial Support Group, is to face an internal disciplinary charge, but will not be charged over the death. Justifying its decision not to prosecute Harwood, the Crown Prosecution Service cited a conflict between the postmortem examinations carried out after the death by Patel, and the conclusions of two other forensic pathologists, who found he died of natural bleeding.
Patel, whose professional conduct has repeatedly been brought into question over the last decade, is under investigation by the General Medical Council, where he stands accused of failings in several postmortem cases. He was suspended from the Home Office register of forensic pathologists last year and is banned from working in suspicious death cases.
An investigation by the BBC Radio 4 programme The Report will tomorrow find that Patel should not have been on the Home Office register when he was appointed to conduct the postmortem on Tomlinson by the City of London coroner.
Patel was not in a group practice, did not participate in peer reviewing, and did not have a contract with any police force, the programme finds, meaning he did not meet criteria for forensic pathology set out by the Home Office in 2006. The Report also claims the GMC could have prevented Patel from conducting further forensic autopsies in 2005, following a complaint over misdiagnosis in another case.
There is mounting pressure for the inquest into Tomlinson’s death to be taken out of the hands of the coroner, Paul Matthews. Lawyers, politicians and supporters of the Tomlinson family have questioned the independence of Matthews and called for a high court judge to be placed in charge of the case.
Matthews has consistently refused to explain why he chose Patel to conduct the first postmortem. He declined to take part in the BBC programme, which also found that he refused two IPCC officials access to the original postmortem while it was being conducted by Patel.
The Report, which will be broadcast at 8pm, also points to City of London police involvement in the selection of Patel. The force, which ran the initial investigation into Tomlinson’s death and tried to convince his family there was nothing suspicious about his collapse, “approved” the appointment of Patel and paid £2,500 toward his fee.