"We had to carry out our own searches"
The 1997 death of Ricky Reel has attracted a lot of attention as a petition grows for a new investigation into his death.
Sukhdev Reel created the petition and has been demanding justice for her son. The petition‘s target is 75,000, it currently has more than 64,000.
Sukhdev explained that Ricky, then aged 20, went missing on October 14, 1997, following a racist attack in Kingston upon Thames Town Centre.
Ricky had been with three friends when they were set upon. Afterwards, the friends were able to regroup but Ricky never did.
His body was discovered at the bottom of the River Thames seven days after the attack. The discovery was just metres where he and his friends were attacked.
Sukhdev said: “Ricky had everything to live for. He was on a work placement in Central London, doing a Computer Science Course at Brunel; he had good friends and a loving family.
“He loved life and had his future mapped out. His life was cut short cruelly, and senselessly.”
Despite his death happening 23 years ago, no one has been charged with his death.
Sukhdev has been actively campaigning on Twitter for people to sign the petition and has claimed that Ricky drowned in the river after he was pushed.
Sukhdev revealed that due to police failures, the family effectively conducted their own investigation, saying:
“As a grieving family at the time we expected the case to be investigated thoroughly and without bias but we experienced a huge number of police failures, assumptions and stereotyping based on our colour.
“We had to carry out our own searches, conduct our own witness appeals and gather CCTV images showing Ricky’s last moments.
“We even had to commission our own post-mortem report which confirmed that Ricky had fallen into the river backwards not forwards as the police had tried to suggest.”
Sukhdev said that the police investigation at the time of the incident was found to have been “seriously flawed”.
Sukhdev alleged that undercover police made matters worse by monitoring the family as they campaigned for justice.
She said: “Rather than helping us find out what happened to Ricky, they infiltrated our home and our personal lives, at a time when we were most vulnerable.”
Since the death of Ricky Reel, no one has been brought to justice.
Sukhdev has now called for a fresh investigation into Ricky’s death, owing to the fact that there are massive improvements in technology and forensic science.
Sukhdev added: “By signing this petition you can help our family get justice with a fresh investigation, but also, you can help make sure that this does not happen again.
“When our loved ones go out they should come home safely. When we need the police’s help, they should take us seriously.”
John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, welcomed calls for another investigation, saying:
“I support the call by the family of Ricky Reel and the Justice for Ricky Reel Campaign for the police to review the case of Ricky Reel afresh including a review of forensic evidence in the light of recent technological advances. Please sign the Petition and share.”
Sukhdev concluded: “My family and I have had our lives torn apart by what happened and the way we have been treated but I will never rest until we, through your support, get justice for my son.
“Please sign our petition, a few seconds can change lives. Please be part of that change.”