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Family of man killed in ‘racist attack’ continue fight for justice 23 years on

Jay Abatan died after he was attacked outside a Brighton nightclub in 1999

THE family of a man killed in a “racist attack” in Brighton more than two decades ago has renewed calls for the police to bring those responsible to justice. 

Jay Abatan, a 42-year-old father of two, died after he was attacked outside a Brighton nightclub in 1999. 

His brother Michael will hold a vigil on Saturday outside Sussex police station on the 23rd anniversary since the death. 

Due to Covid restrictions, the annual event is the first to be held since 2019. 

Michael, the son of English and Nigerian parents, was attacked along with his brother and a friend outside the Oceans Room nightclub on January 24, 1999. 

His brother fell after being punched and fractured his skull on the pavement. He died in hospital five days later. 

The family strongly believes the attack was racially motivated. 

In the years since Abatan’s death, his family has accused Sussex Police of failing to properly investigate the case and bring those responsible to justice. 

In 2005, the force apologised to the family after a review identified mistakes in the initial investigation into his death. 

Parallels have been drawn between the case and that of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence due to police failures during the investigations. 

Ahead of Saturday’s vigil, Zita Holbourne, a lead figure in the campaign for justice, told the Morning Star: “The family haven’t given up on their quest for justice.

“Sussex Police have a lot to answer for and the pressure is still on them to investigate this murder and bring the killers to justice and allow the family to have some peace.”

The vigil on Saturday is supported by the PCS union, of which Michael and Jay were both members

Organisers have called for members of the public and trade unionists to support the family by attending or sending messages of support. 

The family are renewing calls for witnesses of the attack to come forward. 

Sussex Police recently said that it regrets that nobody has been convicted for the “cowardly attack,” adding that officers were committed to investigating any significant new information. 

For more information on the vigil, see here:


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