Christopher Alder died 20 years ago in the early hours of 1st April 1998.  He was a fit and active 37-year-old black man who was born and grew up in Hull. He had served as a paratrooper in the 1980s and he was making a life for himself back in Hull when he died.

He died slowly, hands cuffed behind his back, face down on the custody suite floor at Queens Gardens Police Station, Hull. Christopher was unconscious and struggling for breath. His breathing was getting slower and louder, and more laboured. Paramedics were called too late to save him and the whole 11 minutes sequence was recorded on custody suite video. During this time police officers laughed and joked; later on, monkey noises can be heard on the tape.

Despite Humberside Police attempts to present a different story, Janet Alder, Christopher’s sister, defied their attempts to intimidate her and their attempts to deflect her questions about her brother’s death. In search of truth and justice, she launched the Justice for Christopher Alder campaign.

In 2000 the inquest jury in Hull gave a verdict that Christopher Alder was killed unlawfully. Still no-one has been convicted in connection with this case.

This injustice remains unresolved in 2018, as are the injustices visited on Janet Alder in her campaign for justice, including:

  • The cover-up of evidence.
  • The flawed and inadequate police investigations.
  • The failed prosecution by the CPS.
  • The institutional racism of the CPS in their dealings with Janet.
  • The failure to identify racism in individuals and institutional racism in all the official organisations connected with the case.
  • The surveillance of Janet and her supporters during the inquest.
  • The swapping of Christopher’s body so that the wrong body was sent to the funeral (this probably happened at the morgue).

All these are unresolved issues.


This is why the 20th anniversary of Christopher’s death will be commemorated by a protest gathering at 1pm on Saturday 31st March 2018 (Easter Saturday) at Queen Victoria Square, Hull.