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Judge rejects plea for new probe into young mum’s death

DVD showing how to commit suicide using helium gas found in woman’s flat

24 March, 2017 — By Koos Couvée

Demi Williams’ death ‘should have aroused suspicion’

A FAMILY’S court bid to have police reinvestigate a young mother’s death has been thrown out by a judge.

Demi Williams, 22, died after inhaling helium gas at her Upper Holloway council flat.

She was found dead by paramedics on March 15 of last year. Police concluded her death was not suspicious but the family of the former Highbury Grove pupil believe she may have been assisted by someone.

This week, her father Goodeson Williams’ second judicial review bid to force the Met to reopen its investigation was heard at the High Court.

Una Morris, barrister for Mr Williams, told the court: “At the heart of this case is a young black woman who died by an unusual method in circumstances that we say would arouse suspicion in any person and should have aroused suspicion in the police.”

A DVD providing detailed guidance on how to take one’s life using the gas was found in the flat alongside diary entries and random thoughts about suicide jotted down in a notebook, revealing Demi had done extensive internet research about ending her life.

Ms Morris argued that publishing and supplying the DVD may have been an offence under the 1961 Suicide Act, and should have triggered a police investigation.

However, Mr Justice Walker said he agreed with the judge who had thrown out an earlier attempt at a judicial review, on the basis that Islington CID had been involved and had concluded there had been no third-party involvement.

Whether to prosecute for the publication or distribution of the DVD was “very much an operational decision” for the police, he said.

“The state, through the coroner and the [Met] Commissioner has conducted an investigation that meets the requirements of the [European Court of Human Rights] Convention,” the judge added.

After Demi’s death, police found an invoice at the flat dated January 6 last year for the purchase of a helium cylinder. It is not known when she took delivery of it.

In December, a coroner ruled that mental health staff “missed opportunities” to check whether Demi had access to the gas, after she told staff at Highgate Mental Health Centre she had ordered helium as a means of committing suicide.

Assistant coroner Richard Brittain recorded a narrative conclusion, saying that he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Demi intended to take her own life.

• For confidential support, call Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or visit samaritans.org

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