Dad-of-two Lenny McCourt died after falling ill following his arrest, having been sprayed with an incapacitant, handcuffed, and transported in the back of a police van from his home in Ash Crescent, Seaham, to cells in Peterlee.
An inquest into his death was told the 44-year-old most likely died after suffering heart failure, yet it took five minutes after arriving at Peterlee to remove his cuffs and efforts started to revive him – and Coroner Andrew Tweddle ruled officers failed to provide adequate first aid.
At that hearing, his sister-in-law Tracey McCourt represented the family, after they were told they were not entitled to any legal support in the wake of Lenny’s death in September 2010.
From December 16-18, 2019, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) organized the first Global Refugee Forum. The by-invitation event had two objectives: to serve as a platform to announce financial and other support, including opportunities for refugee resettlement; and to exchange good practices on refugee livelihoods, infrastructure, and protection.
According to UNHCR head Filippo Grandi, “The purpose of this meeting … is not just to talk but to rally international support for countries hosting refugees in a spirit and with the objective of sharing the burden more equitably.”
The Forum came exactly a year after the U.N. General Assembly affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees.
First Stop has already worked with campaign group 4WardEverUK to provide a free web design service for families affected by deaths in custody, and now wants to do what it can to support the ongoing appeals to raise much needed funds for the initiative.
The National Memorial Family Fund is the first permanent national resource of its kind specifically for those that are affected by deaths in custody.