The way Kamil Ahmad was treated by the authorities seems to be business as usual, as far as This Writer can tell.
As recently as July, we were told that victims of harassment and stalking were being routinely put at risk because of the failings of police and prosecutors.
Stalking behaviour has been identified in 94 per cent of murders – and harassment of the kind experienced by Kamil Ahmad may be considered extremely similar.
But the police are still refusing to give it enough attention.
Some might say this is because of Tory cuts that have crippled police forces but this behaviour in investigators seems to pre-date Theresa May’s vandalism.
And what about the decision by social services to evict this man – a decision that was only shown to have been reversed after his death?
For This Writer, that is uncomfortably close to the situation we see regularly with disabled benefit claimants, in which the Department for Work and Pensions refuses a claim – only to reverse its decision after the subject has died.
It is a convenience for the Department – no benefit will be paid because the claimant has passed on, but saying it has been granted avoids uncomfortable questions.
That’s why Bristol social services has used this dodge, in the opinion of This Writer.
I’m not saying either the police or social services deliberately neglected Kamil Ahmad’s case in order to cause his death – there’s no evidence here to support that and I don’t think the allegations of disablism and racism will get very far – but it does seem clear that his case did not receive the attention it deserved because of institutional routines.
Will the police start paying more attention to people reporting threatening behaviour? It seems unlikely.
Will social services (or the DWP, for that matter) improve the treatment of claimants? This also seems unlikely.
What is to be done, then?
Public bodies in Bristol are facing allegations of institutional disablism and racism, after the second case in four years in which a man has been convicted of the brutal murder of a disabled refugee.
Friends say that Kamil Ahmad had repeatedly told police officers that he was being threatened and racially abused by Jeffrey Barry, who lived in the same supported accommodation for people with mental health conditions in the Knowle area of Bristol.
Ahmad (pictured) was stabbed to death in the early hours of 7 July last year, just hours after Barry had been released from a hospital where he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Barry, 56, was convicted of murder this week, following a trial at Bristol Crown Court. He had denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He will be sentenced on 10 November.
But Disability News Service (DNS) has been told that the Kurdish asylum-seeker made repeated calls to police officers in the months and years leading up to his death, telling them that Barry was threatening him and that he did not feel safe.
Friends of Kamil Ahmad have also told DNS that Bristol social services – which he had also told about his fears for his safety – was about to evict him and leave him homeless and destitute on the streets, and only announced that this decision had been reversed after he had been killed.
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