The tragic death of Richard Chang

Richard Changabbey

What is the truth behind the tragic death of Richard Chang at Abbey’s headquarters in 2004?

According to Finextra:

” The mysterious death of IT analyst Richard Chang – who fell from the top-floor of Abbey National’s London HQ during an investigation by Kroll Associates into unfounded allegations of corruption in the handling of software contracts in the bank’s treasury division – may yet come back to haunt the UK banking group.

According to a report in UK satirical magazine Private Eye, Scotland Yard has begun a major incident investigation into the death of Chang, who was one of a number of Abbey employees interviewed by Kroll over the contents of an anonymous letter sent to Abbey chief executive Luqman Arnold earlier this year.

The letter, several pages long, was apparently compiled by Abbey staffers unhappy with the progress of a major overhaul of the bank’s treasury department by respected City IT consultancy Buttonwood Tree Group. The document confected a series of coincidences, untruths and unfounded gossip about purported relationships between Buttonwood Tree, IT supplier Wall Street Systems, and senior IT staff working on the project, and spun them into a major conspiracy theory alleging serious improprietaries in the management of the project.

After an internal investigation found the dossier to be without foundation, Luqman called in corporate investigators Kroll Associates to root out the authors. Chang was one of the first to be called for interview by Kroll. He is understood to have fallen to his death from the fifth-floor balcony of Abbey’s London headquarters after requesting a break in the interrogation.

While suicide seems the most likely explanation, Chang’s widow – who according to Private Eye works for the Financial Services Authority – has been pressing for a full inquiry into the exact circumstances surrounding her husband’s death.

News of an expanded investigation by Scotland Yard couldn’t come at a worse time for Abbey National as the bank prepares for its forthcoming nuptials with Spanish suitor Banco Santander. Staff morale – particularly in the treasury and IT department – will be one of the first tasks Abbey’s new owners will need to address.”

Fast forward eight years and we find Richard Chang’s relatives still fighting for the truth behind his death:

” The family of a 48-year-old business analyst who plunged to his death in Euston has called for a fresh inquest into his death after months of scandal at St Pancras Coroner’s Court.

Richard Chang fell from the fifth floor of Abbey National’s Triton Square offices in July 2004.

The coroner, Dr Andrew Reid, recorded a verdict of “suicide” after a post mortem by pathologist Dr Freddy Patel gave the cause of death as “consistent with a fall from height”.

The family has never accepted the official findings and is now redoubling its efforts to have the case reheard after Dr Reid was suspended then resigned from office last month and Dr Patel was struck off the medical register.

Mr Chang’s younger sister, Jacqueline Chang, said:

Obviously when someone dies the way my brother did and we raise those questions, everyone thinks we are making it up.

“When the pathologist got sacked you think, ‘Hang on a minute that’s what we have been saying all along’. And when the coroner departs as well…

“I didn’t want to still be looking into this eight years down the road, but it is in the interest of justice and we cannot get closure until these things get done properly.”

Dr Patel was struck off the medical register last year after the General Medical Council (GMC) found he had botched the post mortems of G20 protestor Ian Tomlinson and the first victim of the serial killer Anthony Hardy, the “Camden Ripper”.

A spokeswoman for the GMC could not say if it was now reviewing the post mortem which concluded that Mr Chang died from “multiple injuries”.

Dr Reid stepped down from his post as coroner for Inner North London last month following an investigation after he wrongly appointed his wife Suzanne Greenaway as deputy coroner.

Ms Greenaway, who had been assistant deputy coroner since 2009, oversaw around 12 Camden inquests including that of troubled singer Amy Winehouse, which has since been re-heard.

Mrs Chang’s solicitors have written to the Attorney General asking for a fresh inquest.

The 49-year-old, from Birmingham, has set up a pressure group, Fatal Campaign UK, to unite families who feel their loved ones’ inquests have not been carried out correctly.

Mrs Chang’s father was investigating his only son’s death until the day he died in 2010.

She said: “He [my father] was disabled towards the end and preoccupied with Richard’s death. He wanted to find out what happened to him.”

Dr Shirley Radcliffe was appointed interim coroner for Inner North London. She said:

There are no legal grounds for the case to be re-heard.”

Isn’t it about time we find out what really happened to Richard Chang?


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