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Man appeals for information 20 years after brother’s death | UK News



The brother of a man killed during a night out celebrating a promotion has held a vigil to mark 20 years since his death, as he appeals for witnesses to come forward.

Jay Abatan died after being attacked outside the Ocean Rooms in Brighton in January 1999.

The 42-year-old, who had only just secured a new job at services firm PwC in London, hit his head on the pavement and passed away in hospital five days later.

Police have been criticised in the years since his death for their handling of the investigation, with manslaughter charges against two men having been dropped because of insufficient evidence.

Mr Abertan's brother believes the attack was racially-motivated. Pic: Justice for Jay Abertan/Facebook
Mr Abertan’s brother believes the attack was racially-motivated. Pic: Justice for Jay Abatan/Facebook

Brother Michael Abatan, 51, said he had not been notified of any new developments by Sussex Police.

Speaking after holding a vigil outside Brighton police station, he said: “Jay was a decent person, a hard-working, intelligent man with a lot to look forward to.

“His future was cut short on the night he was celebrating his promotion at work.

“We know there are witnesses still out there that haven’t come forward, witnesses that are still struggling with their conscience and who are frightened. We want them to have the courage and come forward.”

Mr Abatan has said he believes the attack on the father-of-two was racially motivated, with the siblings being of mixed race with a British mother and Nigerian father.

He said he knew there were still witnesses out there who had not spoken to police, despite there having been two investigations and meetings between the family and police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said that if any new witnesses or information emerged, officers would be “committed to investigating”.

The force has accepted that “mistakes were made” during the initial response to the death, but insisted that “current investigative practices are vastly different”.

Mr May added: “The force has completely updated and reorganised the way it investigates both major crime and critical incidents since 1999.

“Significant changes to our investigative practices include a dedicated Major Crime Team, accredited senior investigating officers and trained family liaison officers.”

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