Unsolved Murders

Christopher Alder

Age: 37

Sex: male

Date: 1 Apr 1998

Place: Queens Gardens Police Station, Hull

Christopher Alder was unlawfully killed and died in police custody at Queens Gardens police station in Hull on 1 April 1998.

He was initially assaulted outside the Waterfront hotel, near Princes Quay in Hull and taken to the Hull Royal Infirmary but was then arrested and taken to Queen's Gardens police station where he died.

A man was arrested for his murder and then charged with assault following his death, but it was later ruled by a judge that he was falsely charged.

It was heard that the man had tried to stop a fight between Christopher Alder and another man. When he had gone to the police station the next day as a potential witness the man was arrested for Christopher Alder's murder and then charged with GBH with intent. However, the Crown Prosecution Service later accepted in June 1998 that the man had nothing to do with Christopher Alder's death. He was later awarded £30,500 in damages in January 2006 after a civil hearing in which he claimed false imprisonment and malicious prosecution against Humberside Police. An earlier case in 2003 was dismissed after the judge said that there was no factual evidence of police deceit. At the hearing it was agreed that it was 'more likely than not that the police charged the man with causing GBH with intent to deflect potential criticism of the circumstances of Christopher Alder's death'.

Five policemen were later charged with Christopher Alder's manslaughter as well as misconduct in 2002 but were all cleared.

It was heard that Christopher Alder was seen lying injured at the police station with his trousers down in CCTV footage with several policemen standing around talking and that he might have survived if he had received medical attention or put in the recovery position. A pathologist said:

There would appear to be no reason to rule out his recovery had he received appropriate medical attention, had his airway been clear, if he had been placed in the recovery position and if he had gone to hospital.

However, other evidence suggested that he already had brain damage before he arrived at the police station and could have died anyway.

It was heard that whilst at the hospital his mood had swung erratically between aggression and calm and he was arrested for breach of the peace and driven in a van to Queen's Gardens police station where he was then dragged into the custody suite where he was left lying on the floor, handcuffed, where he died four hours later. It was heard that his behaviour at the hospital was due to a combination of drink and a bang on the head.

A policeman said that Christopher Alder had been breathing happily and snoring, just before he died.

Transcripts from the CCTV in the police station heard one of the policeman saying that Christopher Alder had been 'doing dying swan acts' at the hospital.

A later Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation ruled that four of the policemen present at the time were guilty of a 'most serious neglect of duty'. The police later apologised for their 'failure to treat Christopher with sufficient compassion and to the desired standard that night'.

Christopher Alder had been a veteran of the Falklands War.

It was later found that his family had buried the wrong body after his death when his body was found later in a hospital mortuary in 2011. It was then found that the body of an elderly woman had mistakenly been put in his grave.

The government also apologised in 2011 for a series of human rights violations.

It was later found, during the investigation into surveillance having been carried out on relatives of Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered in 1993, to be used against them, that similar surveillance had been carried out on Christopher Alder's relative and her barrister. The surveillance evidence was found in archives during the search of Stephen Lawrence's surveillance evidence. Following the discovery, an inquiry was launched by the Independent Police Complaints Commission in 2013.

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