Decision due soon on criminal charges over death of Sunderland man in New York

Shaun Dobinson died while in New York. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
Shaun Dobinson died while in New York. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

A decision on possible criminal action over the death of a Sunderland man on holiday in the U.S. is expected by the end of the month.

A police investigation - involving officers in both New York and Northumbria - was launched after the death of 21-year-old Shaun Dobinson on June 3, 2016, in the American city.

Sunderland Corone Derek Winter.

Sunderland Corone Derek Winter.

Washington-born Mr Dobinson had worked as a trainee maintenance technician at Grundfos in Castletown for four years before moving to another job shortly before he died.

An inquest into his death was formally opened at Sunderland Coroner’s Court in November 2016, at which city coroner Derek Winter confirmed police had been asked to investigate the circumstances of Mr Dobinson’s death.

“As a result of those inquiries it is the case that the police have requested expert evidence,” he said.

“It will not be possible for the inquest to proceed as the police inquiry is incomplete.”

A pre-inquest review hearing heard a decision on criminal charges was expected within days.

“I previously opened and adjourned the inquest as part of my investigation into the death, pending inquiries both in this country and in New York,” said Mr Winter.

“These inquiries are extremely complex and I am expecting, on the information currently available, for a decision to be taken in respect of criminal proceedings before the end of February.

“My intention is to adjourn this pre-inquest review for a further review hearing on the 18th of April at 10am.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Police have carried out an investigation and passed a file of evidence to the CPS for consideration.”

Fifty members of staff at Grundfos, in Castletown, cycled to Beamish and back in memory of Mr Dobinson shortly after his death, to raise funds for New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, where he was treated after falling ill.

Catherine Attwell, HR director at Grundfos, said: “Shaun was a very popular and hardworking member of the team, and we all wanted to do something in his memory.

“We talked to his family who suggested raising money for the Presbyterian Hospital in New York where his family said he was so well treated.

“Shaun volunteered for everything, and was a popular member of the Grundfos Olympics team and our bike ride was exactly the sort of thing he would have enjoyed.”

Michael McKenzie, production supervisor at the firm and someone who helped organise the ride, added: “Shaun was a chirpy character who got on well with everyone here.”