High Court asked to force Essex Police to re-open Lee Balkwell's mysterious cement mixer death i
MURDERED? The High Court is being asked to re-open the case of Lee Balkwell's death
THE High Court has been asked to force police to launch a murder probe into the death of a man found crushed between the drum and chassis of a cement mixer 16 years ago.
Lee Balkwell, 33, was found dead by paramedics at just after 1am on July 18 2002 in the vehicle parked in an industrial area in South Ockendon, Essex.
The mysterious death was treated by Essex Police as a tragic accident.
However, in an application, for a judicial review of the police decision to close the case, made on behalf of father Les Balkwell, 71, it is claimed his son may have been murdered.
A statement of facts, submitted with the application, reveals that Mr Balkwell senior hired a team of former Met Police murder detectives who run private detection agency TM Eye to examine the evidence. They claimed the accident could not have happened as described and he may have been "murdered" and the scene "staged to look like an accident."
STAGED? Lee Balkwell's leg is visible between drum and chassis of the mixer
The statement described the address where it happened, Baldwins Farm, as: "The property of a known serious organised crime group."
It added: "Mr Balkwell believed and continues to believe that his son was murdered." The apllication proposes a hypothesis that Lee had introduced a drug dealer to the Bromley family.
ANSWERS: Dad Les Balkwell is convinced the truth still needs to come out
It added: "As a result of a failure to clear a friend's drugs debt to the Bromley family, he was attacked. Having been tortured and subdued, including the use of a stun gun, he was placed in the cement mixer and murdered by being crushed between the drum and chassis."
The application asks for Essex Police to be ordered by a judge to get an external force to reinvestigate the case as murder.
Essex Police admitted botching the initial investigation, paying Mr Balkwell's family a four figure sum in 2015 after they sued the force.
OUTSIDE: Tools for drilling were not in the mixer when emergency services arrived
However, in response to a letter before action, the force said a series of reviews of the case found no evidence pointing towards foul play. It refused to comment due to the legal action. Lee's employer Simon Bromley, 48, has always insisted the two were drilling hardening cement from inside the drum late into the night, when it malfunctioned, crushing Lee. After jumping out the cab and being unable to get Lee out, he said he called 999 from his parent's property.
In 2014 he was cleared at Chelmsford Crown Court of gross negligence manslaughter, but convicted of failing to ensure Lee's health and safety. Mr Bromley did not respond to questions about the case.