My belief in humanity has been crushed over fate of my brother

Janet Alder
Janet Alder
Have your say

CHRISTOPHER Alder’s sister Janet said her faith in humanity “had been crushed” following the treatment of her brother.

Speaking exclusively to the Yorkshire Post from her home she revealed she still feels frightened she is being followed by police and spoke of her ongoing battle with the “demons flying about that I have got to get rid of”.

The scandal was only revealed when a close friend of Grace Kamara, a 77-year-old Nigerian woman who died of natural causes, insisted on preparing her body for burial ahead of her funeral in November 2011, and was told it could not be found.

Mr Alder’s corpse was apparently “discovered” in a body bag bearing Mrs Kamara’s name.

A criminal inquiry by South Yorkshire Police, which failed to determine how the bodies were exchanged, established that Mrs Kamara had been buried in Mr Alder’s grave.

Miss Alder, 51, said: “My belief in humanity has been crushed because I find it hard to believe what’s happened.”

Five officers who were present when Mr Alder died were charged with manslaughter and misconduct but the trial collapsed and all were acquitted on the orders of the judge.

Miss Alder later launched a civil case against the Crown Prosecution Service, claiming it had failed to act professionally because of racism, but lost.

She then took a case against the Government at the European Court of Human Rights, and three weeks after Mr Alder’s body was found in the mortuary proceedings were halted when the Government apologised and agreed to pay compensation after admitting that Mr Alder’s treatment before the burial scandal breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

Civil liberties group Liberty called the apology “unprecedented”.

After taking her case to the European Court, Miss Alder said she was just beginning to rebuild her life when she was told the devastating news that she had been given the wrong body to bury at her brother’s funeral, which she had organised.

“I honestly thought that was going to be the end of it and then I would pick my life up and find some way of moving forward,” she said.

“I had just got myself a job 
again. I knew it was going to be difficult to move on but I’d done what I felt could be done in this country.

“It was a total shock when I found out about the body. I was enraged that Christopher could be treated so inhumanely.

“I felt really hurt for my family again, but at the same time felt once again through past experience that it (the police mortuary investigation) was going to be a bit of a whitewash.”

Then came another revelation – that the same force in whose custody her brother had died may have placed her under “improper surveillance”.

Miss Alder had previously claimed she was followed by police, had her phone tapped and that her mail was interrupted.

She said she now feels under attack by the state and spoke candidly about the effect it has had on her, and how her health has suffered as a result.

“I’m one of those people who if I’m hurt I’ll try to do something about it,” she said.

“But I feel frightened, especially being followed by the police, and each new experience is frightening because every little bit of security has been taken away from you and you are left with total turmoil which is not of your doing.

“It’s not as if I’ve done anything wrong but ask questions and each time it’s frightening experience.

“I’ve got to work on myself psychologically – there are demons flying about that I’ve got to get rid of. It’s like psychological abuse.

“You feel everybody wants to try and turn it round as though you are the instigator of trouble.

“Friends you thought were friends turn their back; you become something people want to stay away from. People don’t want to feel uncomfortable.

“You get those people who do understand and see the same importance and others that could have personal experience of it.

“I feel isolated. There’s certain areas of my life – I haven’t had a relationship for seven years because it’s quite a lot to expect other people to take on what’s going on and most people don’t want continuous grief.

“I’ve had to set all that aside. It’s a good job my children are older. If my children had been small toddlers I don’t know if I’d be able to keep up with everything.

“It’s very difficult to live your life how you used to live it, and the fact you attract different types (of people) and some are good and some are bad. Sometimes your judgment is clouded.

“You speak to some people 
who say ‘God, you’re going through that again’, as if it’s not important.

“It’s a scary experience because everything now I come across is unknown.

“I don’t think I’ve had time to really grieve. What my family has been through, most families will never match a fraction of it.

“What has happened has hit me so hard because I care.”

Although she now has little faith in the authorities to “do the right thing”, she hopes a potential whistleblower may still come forward to shed light on the many unanswered questions surrounding the entire case.

“I’m looking at these people you put your trust in and I’ve been let down by people who are paid extraordinary amounts of money, but when it comes to doing something with integrity they are nowhere in sight.

“It’s them having a good standard of living at somebody else’s pain. All the people that have dealt with it have a fear of saying anything that puts themselves in the line of fire.

“They are not prepared to put themselves on the line for truth and justice, and instead they try to transfer the blame onto you because you are an easy target.

“It’s as though they want me to feel guilty.

“I hope and just ask and beg that anybody who has got a prick of conscience will come forward.

“I must be a bit of an idealist – if I didn’t have high expectations of them I don’t think I’d feel it as much.

“It’s a piece of paper to them all; the actual person has been lost.

“I’m not going to accept a lie – tell me the truth. All I’m trying 
to do is find out what happened 
to my brother and get some justice.”

She added: “You don’t expect them to turn round and transfer the blame onto you.

“But at the same time I have met a lot of good people as well, a lot of good people who have helped me and supported me in many ways.”