Met officer who died of Covid would be ‘horrified' by handling of party probe

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A Metropolitan Police officer who died of Covid-19 would be “horrified” at how the force appears “complicit in covering up” the behaviour of politicians, his bereaved wife has said.

Fran Hall, a spokeswoman for the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group, said on Friday that the scandal has been “reopening the wounds we are trying to live with” and has left her “furious”.

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It comes after the force told the Cabinet Office team to limit publication of any potentially criminal events and behaviour in senior civil servant Sue Gray’s report, casting further uncertainty on when it will surface and how extensive it will be.

Ms Hall told the PA news agency: “There appears to be an attempt by the Met to stop the full report coming out after we have all been told for weeks to wait for Sue Gray’s report.”

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The 61-year-old, who lost her husband, serving Metropolitan Police officer Steve Mead, to coronavirus in October 2020, added: “It just makes me furious.”

Met officer who died of Covid would be ‘horrified’ by handling of party probe
© Provided by PA Media Bereaved people hold photos of loved ones lost to coronavirus (from left, with the names of those who died in brackets) Hannah Brady (Shaun Brady/Margaret Brady), Fran Hall (Steve Mead), Jo Goodman (Stuart Goodman), Charlie Williams (Rex Williams), next to the Covid Memorial Wall in London (James Manning/PA)

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“Being a police officer is who he was,” she said.

“He would have been horrified by what is happening now, how the police – the Met in particular – are being looked at as complicit in covering up the behaviours of politicians, which leaves us, bereaved people, feeling like we don’t matter,” she added.

Ms Hall said bereaved families have been “dutifully waiting” for the report as Boris Johnson refuses to answer questions about the alleged lockdown breaches and that the Met’s decision has “broken the trust of the public”.

“I would ask who the police is working for,” she said. “If they are giving the impression that they are working for the Government, not the public, then there is something seriously wrong.”

Lynn Jones, another member of the campaign group who lost her husband Gareth to Covid-19 in March 2021, said: “It seems to be one cover-up after another.”

“The whole thing is unpleasant and distrustful,” she said, adding that the Met asking for the whole report not to be published “begs the question of why not”.

Ms Jones, who travels to London from Stoke-on-Trent every Friday to volunteer at the National Covid-19 Memorial Wall, said being told Mr Johnson only attended a birthday event for about 10 minutes “drives me mad”.

“My husband was in hospital for seven weeks,” she said, becoming tearful as she recalled the months leading up to his death.

“I would have done anything to get into the ward for 10 minutes.”

Speaking about how the Government have used the excuse that Mr Johnson only attended an event briefly, she said: “I feel like we do not matter and our loved ones don’t matter.”

She added that, as restrictions are lifted, the public are constantly being told to “move on”.

“But we have lost our husbands,” she said. “How do you move on from that?”

Met officer who died of Covid would be ‘horrified’ by handling of party probe
© Provided by PA Media Fran Hall, 61, with her late husband, Steve Mead, 65 (Fran Hall/PA)

The highly anticipated document from Ms Gray could be pivotal for the Prime Minister’s future but it has yet to be submitted to No 10, with legal and human resources officials scrutinising the report before it can be sent to Downing Street for publication.

The Met Police’s announcement means the official inquiry, which had been seen as crucial in the long absence of a police investigation, has been hampered.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson continues to await the report, which has the potential to trigger a vote of no confidence in his leadership by Tory MPs angered over alleged breaches.

PA have approached the Met Police for comment.

The Samaritans offer support and advice to people feeling suicidal or vulnerable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their website is https://www.samaritans.org, email address jo@samaritans.org or call free on 116 123

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