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Police Investigation Into Death Of Thomas Frost Cleared

May 10, 2010

A police watchdog has cleared an investigation into the death of a disabled schoolboy at an activity centre after complaints by his parents.

Thomas Frost, 15, from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, died on July 4, 2003 while on holiday near Bodmin in Cornwall.

His father, Gregory, said the police inquiry into his son’s death was “incompetent and negligent”.

However the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) found it had been “thorough and proportionate.”

The schoolboy, an Ysgol Erw’r Delyn pupil who suffered from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, was found dead in bed while attending the Churchtown Farm residential activity centre in Lanlivery, near Bodmin.

Officers with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary launched an investigation into the death and concluded it was non-suspicious.

Mr and Mrs Frost have had to endure the death of their child while he was away from their care and support. This must be unbearably hard for them and I have every sympathy for them and their grief
Rebecca Marsh, IPCC Commissioner

As a series of forensic tests were not carried out during a later post mortem examination, a cause of death was never ascertained.

Mr Frost passed on 16 complaints to the IPCC against the investigation, all of which were later withdrawn.

But the police watchdog regarded them as so serious it decided to go ahead and fully investigate them anyway.

IPCC Commissioner Rebecca Marsh said that all 16 of Mr Frost’s complaints had been looked at in detail.

‘Reasonable’

The IPCC concluded that the officers who had attended Churchtown Farm residential activity centre had acted properly in how they had secured the bedroom where Thomas had been found.

It also exonerated the way they had interviewed the centre’s staff and Thomas’s school, whose responsibility it was to look after Thomas.

“The police conclusion that the death was not suspicious was reasonable,” said Ms Marsh.

The post mortem examination and forensic tests were not part of the IPCC’s remit nor the responsibility of the police officers, she said.

Following Mr Frost’s complaints, the activity centre, the pathologist and two coroners had been subject to examinations by public agencies, Ms Marsh pointed out.

‘Tragic’

These bodies had been contacted by the IPCC for further information about what had happened at the centre and who had responsibility for different aspects of Thomas’s care.

“The subsequent police investigation followed force policy and procedures and considered the possibility of foul play,” she said.

“It reasonably decided that this was not a suspicious death.

Ms Marsh said Thomas’s death had been “tragic” for his family and friends.

“Mr and Mrs Frost have had to endure the death of their child while he was away from their care and support,” she said.

“This must be unbearably hard for them and I have every sympathy for them and their grief.”

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