5 Essex Court

Russell Fortt

Call 1999


Russell has a very significant inquest practice (having been instructed in 86 inquests in recent years), the majority comprising deaths in custody (police and prisons) but also including police shooting, deaths arising from medical malpractice, acting for the MoD in relation to the deaths of soldiers and acting for the Highways Agency (now Highways England) in relation to road traffic accidents in which the condition of the road was in issue.  Notable examples of inquest work include:

Re: Marvin Couson (2018)  - Instructed by the Metropolitan Police in respect of an inquest into a man who was shot outside a bar in 2002 but died from his injuries 13 years later. 

Re: Alex Malcom (2018) – Instructed by the National Probation Service in relation to an inquest concerning the death of a five year old child who was murdered by his mother’s boyfriend whilst subject to post-sentence supervision. 

Re: Adrian McDonald (2018) - Instructed by Staffordshire Police in ongoing inquest proceedings (and related misconduct proceedings) into the death of a man who had been tasered, bitten by a police dog and restrained, having consumed illicit drugs.  He was placed into the rear of a police van where he was found to be unresponsive and died.

Re: Warren Austin (2018) - Instructed by the Ministry of Justice in ongoing inquest proceedings into the death of a man found hanging in his cell at HMP Chelmsford.

Re: Stephen Akinyemi (2016): - Instructed by the National Crime Agency at an inquest held at the Royal Courts of Justice into the death of a man who was shot by an acquaintance at the acquaintance’s home which had at the time been under covert video surveillance by the NCA.

Re: John Lockley (2010) - Instructed by Staffordshire Constabulary in an inquest into the death of a man who suffered a fatal brain injury and had been left on the pavement for a significant period due to issues with grading emergency calls and a breakdown in communications with the ambulance service.

Re: Naomi Bryant (deceased) (2010) - Instructed to represent the Parole Board at a lengthy and high profile inquest into the death of a woman who was murdered by a former prisoner who had been released on licence from a discretionary life sentence.

Re: Trevor Harding (2006) - Instructed by Cheshire Constabulary into the death of a man who died in a struggle with police at his home.

Howlett v HM Coroner for Devon & Others [2006] EWHC 2570 - Instructed by Wiltshire Constabulary in a successful appeal under s.13 of the Corner’s act quashing the original inquest and obtaining an order for a new inquest. It concerned the death of Rachel Whitear, a heroin addict whose parents released the photograph of her dead body to the media and used it as part of a high profile national campaign against drug abuse.

Re: Jason Wardle (Deceased) (2006) - Acted for a police force (MOD police) in a five-week inquest concerning the death of a member of the Royal Navy who shot himself whilst surrounded by armed police.