Pc Simon Harwood denies killing Ian Tomlinson at G20 protests
A Scotland Yard officer denied killing newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests when he appeared in court today (Monday) charged with manslaughter.
Mr Tomlinson, a homeless 47-year-old, collapsed and died on the fringes of demonstrations in central London on April 1 2009.
Pc Simon Harwood, a father of two, showed no emotion as he stood in the dock at Southwark Crown Court in south London to enter his “not guilty” plea.
Relatives of Mr Tomlinson, who live on the Isle of Dogs, gasped from the public gallery as Harwood, 40, denied the allegation against him.
Harwood, who appeared in the dock wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie, spoke clearly and confidently to confirm his name before he was told: “You are charged on this indictment with manslaughter, that on April 1 2009, you unlawfully killed Ian Tomlinson.
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“How do you plead: guilty or not guilty?”
He answered boldly: “My Lord, not guilty.”
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Mr Tomlinson’s wife Julia wiped tears from her eyes, while his stepson Paul King hung his head and muttered “No”.
Harwood’s wife Helen showed no emotion during the 20-minute hearing.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) charged the officer over Mr Tomlinson’s death after reviewing an inquest jury’s unlawful killing verdict.
DPP Keir Starmer QC previously said new medical evidence at the inquest and the opinions of experts during the hearing helped change his mind in launching proceedings.
Mr Tomlinson’s death became an international controversy after New York businessman Christopher La Jaunie handed footage he had taken of a police confrontation to the Guardian newspaper.
CCTV images, police helicopter footage and hand-held video recordings show Mr Tomlinson staggering away from a police cordon after being hit with a baton.
Footage then shows Mr Tomlinson gesturing to police and appearing angry after being sent tumbling to the ground.
His widow has said the death devastated her family, adding: “I remember feeling he was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Harwood is due to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court on June 13.