The family of Kunil Nur, who died following contact with Wigan police, have released the following statement:
"We are the family of Kunil Nur, a 44 year-old son, brother and father who died following contact with Wigan police.
Kunil was a valued member of the Wigan community and an organiser in the Sudanese Wigan community ‘SWAP’. He spoke 5 languages and often acted as a translator at local events or elections. He was a law-abiding citizen with no previous history with the police.
You could always spot Kunil as a friendly, helpful and familiar face, and he also appeared on BBC Radio One and BBC Sounds to help transition newly arrived communities into Wigan.
We understand that in the months prior to his death, Kunil reported incidents of racial abuse and harassment to both Wigan Council and Wigan police. This abuse was so severe that he often slept at a friend’s place and applied for a home swap in the weeks before his death. Kunil was crying out for help, and we strongly feel he was let down by the agencies who were supposed to protect him.
In the early hours of 4 October, we are informed that there was a commotion between his neighbours, their friends and Kunil outside their flats at Linney Square. We understand that six police officers attended the scene following a number of 999 calls from residents of the estate. When police arrived, we understand that Kunil was trying to clot the bleeding from a wound to his head. But for reasons we cannot understand and that have not been explained to us, the police arrested him for disturbing the peace.
We do not know what happened for certain because we have so far received conflicting information from the police investigation, including whether or not he was taken into police custody after the incident and the reason for the delay in getting him to hospital and treating him there. We understand Kunil was taken to a mental health hospital despite his clear physical injury and having no history of mental health issues.
Weeks after his death, the facts of Kunil’s death are still unclear.
As a family, we demand a thorough and independent investigation into the events leading up to the death of our beloved son, brother, and father. We are concerned that such an investigation is not yet underway even though a number of weeks have elapsed since his death.
Based on what we know, we understand that Kunil suffered a hate crime and the police and local authority did nothing to help him. Instead, they arrived at the incident on 4 October and assumed that Kunil, the (only Black) individual on the scene, was responsible and arrested him. We also understand that no other arrests were made on the night even though Kunil was seriously injured at the scene of the incident.
It is important to us that other families do not have to go through what we have suffered.
We are grateful to the London Somali Youth Forum, Support for Wigan Arrivals Project, (SWAP), the Sudanese community in Wigan and Lisa Nandy MP for their continued support in our mission to find out the truth about Kunil’s death.
Kunil’s death is a huge loss for the community in Wigan and for our family. We would like to extend our appreciation to the community in Wigan who gave so much joy, support and love to my son over the years. Your continued support is felt by all of us.
We love and miss him dearly."
Kunil’s family are represented by Imran Khan and Partners solicitors. Please contact Daniel Cooper of Imran Khan and Partners at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 404 3004 for more information or for enquiries.