Family praised after 1999 death of man in Brighton club

Jay Abatan Jay Abatan died in hospital five days after he hit his head on a pavement in Brighton

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The family of a man who died outside a nightclub 11 years ago have been praised for their "tenacity" in their search for the truth about his death.

Jay Abatan, 42, was attacked outside the Ocean Rooms in Brighton in what his family think was a racist assault.

At the start of an inquest, coroner Veronica Hamilton-Deeley praised the family's resilience since he died.

She said part of the inquest would try to determine whether his head hit the pavement after he fell or was pushed.

Mr Abatan, a 42-year-old accountant from Eastbourne, was attacked in 1999 following a row over a taxi.

'No new evidence'

He hit his head on the pavement outside the nightclub and died in hospital five days later.

A post-mortem examination found the cause of the father-of-two's death was a severe head injury.

His family believe the attack against Mr Abatan, who was mixed race, was racially motivated.

Manslaughter charges against two men were later dropped and they were cleared of assaulting Mr Abatan's brother, Michael.

One of the men committed suicide in 2003.

Mr Abatan's family claimed there were significant failings with the police investigation and two detective inspectors were later disciplined.

Sussex Police told the inquest at Brighton Magistrates' Court no new evidence had emerged since his death.

'Fighting for justice'

Det Ch Supt Martin Cheesman, head of Sussex CID, said 750 people had been interviewed, including 47 of 49 people identified on CCTV cameras in the Ocean Rooms nightclub.

He said there was no evidence to suggest the remaining two people would have meaningful information and they could not take the investigation forward.

Speaking before the inquest Michael Abatan said: "Jay's family welcome an independent court hearing into the circumstances that led to his death.

"We have been fighting for justice for 11 years and we just want to get to the truth."

The inquest is expected to last for three weeks.

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