Families of dead children sue MPS over stolen identities
Relatives of four dead children whose identities were used by undercover officers are suing the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).
The controversial practice was used by Scotland Yard’s secretive Special Demonstration Squad, and its successor, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), which infiltrated protest groups and political movements for 40 years from 1968.
Some 42 cases have been found where dead children’s names were used to provide cover identities for officers until 2003. Six members of the families of four of the children have now launched action against the MPS.
The force said in a statement: “The MPS received a letter of claim dated February 4, 2020, on behalf of six claimants. The claims relate to the historical use of deceased children’s identities by undercover officers. The MPS is investigating the claims and is unable to comment further at this time.”
Liisa Crossland, widow of David Crossland, whose wife, Daphne, and their two young children, Kevin and Lynne, were killed in a plane crash in Yugoslavia in 1966, said she did not think her husband would have been “able to cope” with finding out his dead son’s identity was stolen by police.
“He never, never forgot his family, he regularly visited their grave, and this would’ve been too much,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“How did someone allow this practice to carry on? These children’s families experienced the worst loss that any loving parent can go through.
“Over the years, the pain eases, but never goes away.”
The Crosslands are one of four families taking legal action against the MPS.
The others include relatives of severely disabled Neil Martin, who died a month after his sixth birthday in 1969, Rod Richardson, who died days after being born in 1973, and Michael Hartley, whose body was never found after he fell from a trawler in 1968, according to the BBC.
Solicitor Jules Carey told Today: “One thing all of those families have in common is that the appalling experience that they’ve had to bear, in terms of people losing a sibling, or a child, has been retriggered by learning that their loved one’s identity has been used in this way.
“And not only are many of them suffering a fresh grief by being brought up in this way, but their memories of their lost child or their sibling has been significantly tarnished and interfered with by learning its been used in this way.”