An extraordinary 'micro-history' which exposes the beginnings of institutionalised police racism in Britain.
'David Oluwale's story has a raw power...and Kester Aspden makes it relevant for the reader of today' Mishal Husain
An award-winning microhistory that examines the death of David Oluwale and institutionalised police racism in Britain.
When, in May 1969, the body of David Oluwale was found in the River Aire near Leeds, few questions were asked about the circumstances of his death. Oluwale was homeless and had spent time in a psychiatric hospital, an immigrant from Nigeria who was trapped in a system that had failed him miserably.
Eighteen months later a lengthy campaign of harassment by two Leeds policemen was uncovered - Oluwale became national news in Britain, and a symbol for its black community. This extraordinary book draws on original archival material only recently released to revisit one of the most chilling crimes in British history, and at the same time raises questions as relevant today as they were at the end of the sixties.
'Aspden's painstaking research, empathetic approach and ability to weave together a vivid wider social critique show Oluwale was done a terrible disservice' Metro
“This is a shocking and engrossing story... A true story with all the material of a novel, the book is a kind of In Cold Blood set in Leeds”
Jonathan Sale, Financial Times
“Aspden's painstaking research, empathetic approach and ability to weave together a vivid wider social critique show Oluwale was done a terrible disservice... This tenderly compiled book will still make you weep”
“Aspden writes compassionately of his character, weaving information into a gripping narrative and attempting, with a novelist's skill, to give a heartbeat to the dry statistics on his life”
“Aspden's meticulous work does justice to a largely forgotten case”
“Kester Aspden's brave book finally puts the life and death of David Oluwale where it always should have been: centre-stage in the criminal, political and social history of postwar England”