'Tell me why my dad died'

FOR two long years Ian Snelling's family have been waiting to find out exactly how and why he died in police custody.

Richard Cornwell

FOR two long years Ian Snelling's family have been waiting to find out exactly how and why he died in police custody.

And today their agonising wait looked to be over at last as an inquest into his death was finally scheduled to begin, only for it to be postponed again this morning.

Today his daughter Michelle has spoken of the nightmare she has endured - a harrowing ordeal of every day without the father she loved and adored and not knowing how or why he died.

Mr Snelling, 51, of Manwick Road, Felixstowe, collapsed and died in a cell at the town's police station on September 1, 2006.

Two hours earlier he had been arrested at the VK1 off licence in Undercliff Road West on suspicion of theft.

Most Read

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) held an investigation into his death but decided no prosecutions would be brought against officers involved in the incident.

Miss Snelling, 21, of Felixstowe, said: “My hope is that we at last find out exactly what happened - and we hear the right questions asked of those involved.

“It is my father's birthday, the second anniversary of his death and the inquest all at the same time and so this is not a good time for me.

“It is opening up a lot of wounds all at the same time.

“Part of me just wants it all to end but part of me doesn't, which feels very strange. But most of all I just want to know what happened.

“It's like being in limbo. I just cannot move on - every day I am thinking about him and what happened and there are still reminders of his last day everywhere.

“I have got a copy of the IPCC report but I haven't read it all. I can't face it.”

Miss Snelling said she loves her father and misses him so much - they used to see each other almost every day.

She said the inquest had been postponed three times but at long last it seemed it would happen.

The IPCC, which managed the investigation into Mr Snelling's death, said following discussions with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) during the course of the investigation, the CPS confirmed there will be no criminal charges brought against any member of Suffolk Constabulary.

IPCC Commissioner Len Jackson said the final report had been submitted to the coroner.

He said: “At the conclusion of the inquest I will make known the full findings of this investigation. I will also be discussing what learning issues there are for Suffolk Constabulary to consider and how these will be implemented.”

TIMELINE

September 1 2006 - 11.25 - Ian Snelling arrested at VK1 Off Licence in Undercliff Road, Felixstowe after he allegedly walked our of the shop with two bottles of sherry.

1.15pm - While being held in custody at Felixstowe police station, Mr Snelling became unwell and officers called paramedics as they were concerned for his welfare. However attempts to revive him failed and he died.

The case is automatically handed to the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate.

An inquest taken within hours of his death fails to come up with a conclusive cause of death.

September 4 2006 - Police watchdog commission, the (IPCC) vow to get to the bottom of Mr Snelling's death.

September 22 2006 - Investigators make fresh appeal for witnesses who were in the Undercliff Road area of Felixstowe at the same time as Mr Snelling. In particular they wanted to hear from a middle aged couple who tried to enter the off-licence at 11.15am that day.

October 12 2006 - Investigators say the case could take up to a year to solve.

March 2 2007 - Mr Snelling's devastated daughter Michelle speaks for the first time about the tragedy and her quest to find out exactly what happened to her father.

September 2007 - IPCC investigation concludes and the Crown Prosecution Service confirms there will be no criminal charges brought against any member of Suffolk Constabulary.

August 26 2008 - Inquest finally scheduled to go ahead, but is postponed.