Jury’s damning verdict at Ronnie Khan inquest
15 Sep 2016
Today, after a two week inquest, a Jury at Southwark Coroner’s Court has found that a catalogue of failures on the part of the Metropolitan Police significantly contributed to the death of Ronnie Khan.
At the time of his death, Ronnie Khan, 21, was a respected mentor to young people at his local mosque. He had recently completed a business studies course at Hackney Community College.
On 3 November 2011, Ronnie was shot dead by person(s) unknown on Forest Hill Road, Southwark. The police recognise that Ronnie was an innocent bystander when he was shot, and this was reflected in the jury’s conclusions.
Ronnie was leaving the funeral of Joel Morgan at the time of the incident. Joel Morgan, who had died in a traffic accident in Surrey, was a prominent member of the GAS gang based in Lambeth. GAS had a history of tensions with rival gangs, including the Peckham Young Guns and Peckham Boys. Ronnie was an old school friend of Joel Morgan but not a gang member.
Joel’s funeral took place in three stages at separate locations: the service (Lambeth), the burial (Southwark) and the wake (Lambeth). Ronnie died just outside the cemetery in Southwark. Officers were deployed at the funeral and the wake, but not the cemetery. The inquest heard that the police failed to identify the cemetery as being in Southwark, which was on a rival gang’s “patch.”
The jury heard that information came in to Lambeth intelligence unit that gang members would be “bringing firearms to shoot with” to the funeral. Despite being given the correct address of the burial service – Camberwell Old Cemetery, Forest Hill Road, Southwark – the Lambeth intelligence unit decided that the burial would be in Lewisham and there was “no risk to Southwark”.
The jury has concluded that widespread communication errors on the part of the Metropolitan Police, as well as their failure to correctly carry out a policing plan all contributed to Ronnie’s death.
Representing the family, Kate Maynard of Hickman & Rose said: “Once again the police have failed to follow protocol, resulting in the easily avoidable death of Ronnie Khan. Had they accurately recorded the information they were given and shared it appropriately, they would not have failed to assess the risk to Londoners arising from the funeral, and of course to Ronnie, who might still be alive today.”
Ronnie’s sister, Shibli Khan said: “The jury have found that my brother was an entirely innocent bystander and that the Metropolitan Police failed to protect his life. The jury has described ‘prevalent’ (i.e. widespread) ‘communication errors’ within the MPS and a failure by senior officers to make sure there was a policing plan. The jury found that these failures contributed to Ronnie’s death. We want the Metropolitan Police to publicly apologise for failing to protect my brother and to prove that they have learned lessons because we don’t want another family to go through what we have gone through.”
The family is represented by Kate Maynard of Hickman & Rose and Fiona Murphy of Doughty Street Chambers.