‘If I have to go to prison, I will’ – Costessey man refuses to pay council tax in protest at stepdaughter’s death
17:10 29 January 2014
Archant © 2013
A man has appeared in court after refusing to pay his council tax to fund the police force he accuses of incompetence in investigating his stepdaughter’s death.
Andrew Brown, 67, told Norwich Magistrates’ Court he was withholding the part of the bill apportioned to Norfolk Constabulary and Norfolk County Council, which funds the coroner’s office, because he considers them “totally incompetent”.
He owes £776 plus a £50 summons fee to South Norfolk Council, which collects the tax, and said: “These people should not be in power in Norfolk, and they are a disgrace.
He added: “If I have to go to prison for my case, I will.”
Mr Brown, of The Glade, Costessey, is calling for a new inquest into the death of his stepdaughter Joanna Foreman, after police revealed mistakes were made in the original investigation following her death nearly three years ago.
Judge Peter Veits granted South Norfolk Council a liability order for the unpaid bill, and told Mr Brown the courtroom was “not the right place to make political statements.”
Miss Foreman was found dead at her home in St Helena Way, Horsford, on March 12, 2011, after being discovered by her partner.
An inquest held in September of that year heard the cause of the 41-year-old’s death was “unascertained”, with coroner William Armstrong recording a narrative verdict that it was not possible to reach a safe and reliable conclusion as to how she died.
Mr Brown refused to accept the verdict and has since devoted himself to uncovering what he believes are the true circumstances of the former shop floor manager’s death.
At a High Court hearing earlier this month, Mr Brown applied for a new inquest to be opened.
He said that despite repeated reviews and reinvestigations Norfolk police “have still not effectively investigated the circumstances of my daughter’s death”.
Police insisted they had carried out a thorough investigation, but conceded “some new facts had emerged” since the inquest, specifically relating to blood and glucose levels found at the time of Miss Foreman’s death, though they doubted whether it would lead to a different verdict.
Judges have yet to rule on whether a new inquest should be ordered.
A spokesman for Norfolk Constabulary said: “Joanne’s sudden death was a tragedy for her family and friends and we extend our sincere sympathies to them. We have issued a full and unreserved apology to Mr and Mrs Brown for mistakes that we now know were made during the initial investigation.
“Despite a detailed review of our original enquiry as well as a full and methodical reinvestigation of the case, her death remains unexplained. We await the High Court’s decision around a second inquest.”