Pc to be prosecuted for death of Ian Tomlinson

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Media captionKeir Starmer explains the decision to charge Pc Simon Harwood with manslaughter

A police officer is to be charged with manslaughter over the death of newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson during the 2009 G20 protests.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, said there was now a "realistic prospect" of convicting Pc Simon Harwood.

An inquest earlier this month returned a verdict of unlawful death on the 47-year-old.

Mr Tomlinson's family said they were "more than happy" about the decision.

The officer is due to appear before magistrates on 20 June.

The inquest heard Mr Tomlinson collapsed and died after he was hit by a baton and pushed to the ground by Pc Simon Harwood in central London on 1 April 2009.

'Conflicting medical evidence'

The officer said after the inquest he had not intended to push him over.

Image caption Pc Simon Harwood gave evidence to the inquest over three days

Mr Starmer said: "The difficulty facing any prosecution in relation to the death of Mr Tomlinson lies in the conflicting medical evidence about the cause of death. That difficulty remains."

But he said new medical evidence had been presented at the inquest, and the medical opinion of pathologist Freddy Patel had been tested in extensive questioning at the inquest.

He said this had allowed "a degree of clarity to emerge".

Mr Starmer said the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had taken the legal opinion of a senior barrister, Tim Owen, QC.

He said: "Taking the evidence as it now stands, we have concluded that, even with those remaining difficulties, there is now sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of successfully prosecuting PC Simon Harwood for the manslaughter of Mr Tomlinson."

Image caption Ian Tomlinson collapsed at the G20 protests in London two years ago

Mr Tomlinson's stepson, Paul King, made a statement on behalf of the family: "We welcome today's decision to bring a charge of manslaughter against the officer.

"We believe this is the right decision. What we have always wanted is to achieve justice for Ian and to show that police officers are not above the law."

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said: "This is clearly a very, very serious matter for all concerned."

He added: "I have got to be very, very concerned at an inquest verdict that returns a verdict of unlawful killing involving, as the inquest did, one of my police officers.

"My sympathies continue to be with the Tomlinson family."

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