Investigation finds police were not at fault over investigation into Sonny Ferry's death in the River Ouse in York

Sonny Ferry, 19Sonny Ferry, 19
Sonny Ferry, 19
An internal investigation by North Yorkshire Police has found that officers were not at fault over their handling of the death of Sonny Ferry in the River Ouse.

Sonny, 19, was working as a building labourer in York when he fell into the river after a night out in April 2019.

His parents, Stephen and Kate Ferry, submitted a formal complaint to the force because an initial investigation was closed just a day after Sonny's death.

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Yet it later transpired that the teenager's wallet was missing when his body was recovered, and his debit card had been fraudulently used the morning after he died, but by the time his family were told this information in June, it was too late to check CCTV footage.

A 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft in relation to the wallet, but he was later released without charge and it has yet to be established whether it was stolen or if Sonny lost it during his night out, or after he entered the water.

The case has now been passed to the coroner and an inquest will be held.

North Yorkshire Police said:“Following the tragic death of Sonny Ferry in York in April 2019, North Yorkshire Police received a complaint from his family into the handling of the police investigation.

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"This has now been resolved with the family by way of the Local Resolution process which found that, based on the information available, the issues raised in the complaint did not amount to misconduct on the part of any North Yorkshire Police officer or member of staff. It did, however, identify some lessons which have been disseminated to the wider organisation to ensure that all officers and staff are aware of their responsibilities when dealing with such matters.

“We understand that this has been a very difficult time for Sonny’s family and offer our sincere condolences and apologies for the distress this matter has caused them, after the tragic death of their son. The case has been handed over to the coroner and we hope that the inquest will provide Sonny’s family with answers regarding his death and bring them some closure.

“A 45 year-old man of no fixed address, who was arrested in connection with the investigation into Sonny’s missing wallet, has been released without charge from the investigation.”

Sonny was one of five people to die in the Ouse in just one month in April 2019. Another victim was Steven O'Neill, 29, from the Wirral, who was visiting his brother, a soldier based at Imphal Barracks in York, for a night out when he died.

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The Independent Office for Police Conduct was asked to investigate the circumstances leading up to Steven's death, after it emerged he had had contact with officers before entering the water.

CCTV operators alerted police to suspicious activity in the King's Staith area, and when officers arrived, a man ran off and entered the river.

However, the IOPC later wrote to Steven's mother Sharon Scott to say evidence did not suggest the officers breached standards of professional behaviour.

CCTV and bodycam footage, witness statements and police radio transmissions were all analysed.


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