Youth arrested over death of David Askew

An 18-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter over the death of a man with learning disabilities in Hattersley, Greater Manchester.

David Askew, 64, was found collapsed at home on Wednesday evening after police were called to his street following reports of young people causing a disturbance.

No young people were found at the scene and a post mortem into Askew’s death has proved inconclusive meaning more tests will have to be done to determine the cause of death, while Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are still appealing for witnesses.

Askew had reportedly faced years of abuse from local young people. Because the police have had previous contact with Askew and his family, the issue has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is consideing whether to investigate GMP.

Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive of the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, said: “What sort of society are we living in which cannot protect harmless citizens that happen to have a disability? This kind of abuse shouldn’t be happening to anyone in 21st century Britain, especially those that are vulnerable.

“The fact that people with learning disabilities and other conditions that make them slightly different are being singled out and bullied is extremely disturbing.  In the past we have been too slow as a society to label attacks on disabled people as hate crimes.  That is what they are and those charged in connection with these types of offences should face the full force of the law.”

Askew’s case has been likened to that of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her 18-year-old daughter in 2007, after suffering years of abuse at the hands of local youths.

A serious case review into Pilkington’s case questioned the ability of safeguarding adults policies to protect vulnerable victims of antisocial behaviour.

Read more on Community Care’s coverage of disability hate crime:

Hate Crime Action Plan comes under fire

Disability hate crime: the onus is on statutory agencies

Government issues proposals to tackle disability hate crime

Tackling disability hate crime

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