The parents of a student whose body was pulled from the River Thames two years ago have accused the Metropolitan Police of racism because of their alleged handling of the case.
Krishna Chummun,19, went missing on August 7, 2015, after playing football with friends in Enfield, north London.
His body was recovered from the Thames two months later, on October 10. However, it took the police until December 21 to identify him using dental records during a speculative one-off search of the national database.
It wasn’t until Boxing Day (December 26) that year that Krishna’s parents were told their son had been found.
The teenager, who was due to start the second year of his business degree in September, had been in a relationship with a Sikh girl but the pair faced opposition from their community.
Krishna’s father Pradeep told Eastern Eye that the day his son went missing, the teen was attacked by three men outside his north London home, but the police did not investigate the claim.
He added that Krishna had also recently had a heated argument with his girlfriend.
The Met concluded that Krishna had committed suicide, but at the inquest into his death last year, coroner William Dolman recorded an open verdict because there were “too many gaps” in the case to establish the exact circumstances.
Dolman ruled there was not sufficient evidence to find that the teenager had intended to kill himself. A postmortem was unable to determine the cause of his death and toxicology tests found no trace of drugs in his liver.
During the days that followed his disappearance, Krishna’s girlfriend told his parents that he had sent her text messages claiming that he was going to kill himself.
Pradeep and his wife Medha have alleged that the Met police mishandled the case. They also blamed a catalogue of errors for allegedly hampering the investigation into his disappearance.
They have accused officers of being “inefficient, lazy and racist” towards them when investigating the incident.
The Met police referred the complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) which is now looking into their allegations.
Pradeep, a community psychiatric nurse, told Eastern Eye: “When Krishna was coming home from indoor football on August 7, there were three people who attacked him in front of my door before [Krishna] coming in. The police did nothing about it.”
The grieving father said he asked officers to look through CCTV footage but was told that recordings were only kept for 30 days. He added that he was also told that “there are thousands of cameras in London” and it was not possible to search them all.
When he requested that a search take place in the Thames, he claims he was told the current was too strong and the body would have been washed away.
Pradeep said: “There is a different approach when you are an ethnic minority. I believe strongly there is an element of racism there.”
The family say they do not know if records from Krishna’s Oyster card, bank card and mobile phone were checked.
Losing their son has taken a heavy toll on the family, who are fighting to find out what happened the day he went missing.
Pradeep described his son, who was a Manchester United fan, as an “extrovert” and “very bubbly” who would do anything to help anyone.
“Every day is a death. Losing a child is one of the worst things that can happen in the world. If he was ill with a medical condition and died, I could have coped with it with my wife. But losing a young man, so lively, so bubbly, is devastating,” he said.
The Met police declined to comment, but said the IPCC were investigating the family’s complaint against the force.
The IPCC explained that its investigation was ongoing and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment.