Jay’s brother still hoping for justice

Jay Abatan
Jay Abatan

THE BROTHER of an Eastbourne a man killed outside a nightclub is hoping that even after 13 years of waiting his family may still see justice done.

Jay Abatan was 42 when he was attacked outside the Ocean Rooms in Brighton. The father-of-two was punched twice in the face during the unprovoked attack – which the family believe had racist overtones – hitting his head on a nearby pavement and dying from his injuries five days later.

But despite an inquest finding the accountant was unlawfully killed, those responsible have so far escaped conviction.

Two men were arrested within 24 hours of the attack but soon saw manslaughter charges dropped due to a lack of evidence.

Subsequent charges of affray and causing actual bodily harm were acquitted and one of the men first arrested died in 2003.

Now, more than a decade later, Jay’s brother Michael has held a vigil outside Brighton Police Station and says the high-profile convictions of Gary Dobson and David Norris has given his family fresh hope of finally getting some sense of closure.

Speaking on the anniversary of his brother’s death, Mr Abatan said, “I have been heartened to see how the Lawrence family have finally achieved some justice after so long.”

Together with his family Mr Abatan has long maintained there were significant failings with the original police investigation – an investigation which saw a pair of detective inspectors disciplined in 2005.

He added, “People will ask why I am still here asking for justice for my brother after 13 years but there are facts that still remain unanswered regarding the police re-investigation into my brother’s death.

“The inquest that took place in October 2010 showed me there is still new evidence out there not gathered by the police.

“Stephen Lawrence’s family have been through an uphill struggle and it has given me faith that even after 18 years some justice is possible, but the police must pursue all avenues of inquiry without fear or favour.”