Bijan Ebrahimi murder: IPCC probe to be extended

Bijan Ebrahimi Image copyright family photo
Image caption Bijan Ebrahimi was killed last July

The police watchdog is to widen its investigation into the treatment of a man who was killed before his body was set on fire.

Bijan Ebrahimi, who was wrongly branded a paedophile, had repeatedly contacted Avon and Somerset Police for help.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it "remained vital" it got to the truth.

Lee James. 24, of Capgrave Crescent, Brislington, who admitted murder, was jailed for a minimum of 18 years.

Stephen Norley, 25, who admitted assisting an offender, was given a four-year jail term at Bristol Crown Court, in November.

'Policy and approach'

The IPCC said it was expanding its probe - to include officers' treatment of the 44-year-old - both in the run-up to his death last July and in previous years.

The watchdog said three police constables who visited the Iranian national the day before his death have been interviewed under caution for the potential offence of misconduct in a public office.

IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said: "As well as interviewing officers the evidence has dictated that we must look at the force's policy and approach to these sorts of incidents and complaints and any potential organisational failings that Avon and Somerset need to deal with.

"I know that the chief constable of Avon and Somerset is keen to expedite matters as soon as possible, both in terms of the individual officers concerned and in restoring the confidence of the wider community.

"My priority is to ensure a thorough and effective investigation that benefits the family, the wider public, the community and the police.

"We hope that a witness appeal later this month will assist us further," Ms Williams added.

However, Avon and Somerset's police and crime commissioner said she was concerned about the length of time being taken by the investigation.

Sue Mountstevens said she welcomed the "thorough" review by the IPCC but had expected it to conclude by last December.

"I am now told it may not be until May and I am concerned with the length of time Mr Ebrahimi's family are waiting for answers", she said.

"I would imagine that many local people may feel that this investigation has been pushed into the long grass.

"With the spotlight firmly on the integrity of policing, it is vital the IPCC reports back to the family and local people as soon as possible."

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