Contemporary Politics

A state murder exposed

The truth about the killing of Joy Gardner

Proceedings of the Workers Inquiry, November 4-5, 1995

Joy Gardner was a 40 year old mother of two. She came to Britain legally from Jamaica in 1987 to be reunited with her mother and other family members.

She applied for leave to stay in the country on compassionate grounds. Her request was denied without her being informed and deportation proceedings were begun against Joy and her five year old son Graeme.

At 7.40 in the morning, five police officers and an immigration official forced their way into her home. Joy was thrown to the ground, bound with leather belts and gagged with 13 feet of surgical tape. She suffocated, suffering massive brain damage and never regained consciousness. On August 1, 1993 her life support was ended.

A state murder exposed is the record of a Workers Inquiry convened to bring out the truth of this tragic episode. More than five months of intense investigative journalism on the part of the organisers present a powerful case to back up the assertion made in the book's title -- Joy Gardner died at the hands of the British state.

Moreover, the book shows that this was not an isolated incident. Containing well over a dozen submissions to the two-day hearing including several from other relatives of those who had died at the hands of the police, the book paints a harrowing picture of Britain in the 1990s.

Current issues such as the Stephen Lawrence case make this book a compelling read for those wishing to examine the broader social and political questions involved in the attitude of the British state towards minorities. A state murder exposed retains its contemporary significance.

1998 ISBN 1-873045-12 3, 150 pages £5.99 

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