Simon Coxall

A DETECTIVE in charge of public protection across the county has been slammed by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Det Chief Supt Simon Coxall, who heads Public Protection from Essex Police HQ on Kingston Crescent, Springfield, is one of eight senior Essex officers criticised in a damning report by the IPCC.

The IPCC ruled that Mr Coxall failed to re-interview a man in connection with a case when there was clear cause to do so.

The commission upheld 26 separate complaints over the way the detectives handled investigations and subsequent reviews over the mysterious death of Lee Balkwell.

They will now be subjected to a "formal management debrief".

IPCC commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: "Officers failed to secure potential evidence, failed to interview potential witnesses and failed to treat the death with an open mind.

"Reviews and further investigative work have been undertaken but the all-important first hours of this investigation, where vital evidence must be preserved, had been lost."

Mr Balkwell died when he became trapped between the drum and chassis of a cement lorry while cleaning it in the early hours of July 18, 2002, at Baldwin's Farm in Upminster.

Detectives discounted foul play following a 19-day investigation and treated it as a tragic accident.

But Mr Balkwell's parents, Les, 65, and Jacqueline, 62, of Hornchurch, think he was murdered.

They called for a reinvestigation into their son's death.

They say Mr Coxall failed to send a pair of trainers for forensic evidence, failed to maintain the integrity of crucial CCTV footage and failed to take account of the unusual position of the two Kango drills used on the night Mr Balkwell died.

The IPCC say he failed to seize a T-shirt from a witness after seeing bloodstains on it.

Deputy Chief Constable Derek Benson said in the light of the IPCC report he would meet Mr Coxall, Mr Hall, and Det Chief Supt Gareth Wilson, head of operations at the Kent & Essex Serious Crime Directorate in North Kent, to discuss the report's findings.

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Simon Coxall

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