THE family of Sheku Bayoh have launched a campaign to demand answers over his death in police custody, following the emergence of disturbing new developments - including that he was not carrying a knife when apprehended by officers.

Bayoh, 31, was overpowered by police in Kirkcaldy, Fife, on May 3 and later died while in police custody. It had been claimed that officers were responding to reports of a suspect carrying a knife.

But yesterday solicitor Aamer Anwar revealed that the family of the father-of-two claimed to have discovered he was not carrying a knife when he was approached by police - who used CS spray and batons before pinning him to the ground.

Other facts surrounding Bayoh’s death, which Anwar and the family have uncovered, include details of how Bayoh who was 5ft 10in and weighed 12stone 10lbs was restrained by five officers “on top or around him”, including one officer who was over 6ft 4inches and weighed 25 stone.

Bayoh’s family also want Police Scotland chief Sir Stephen House to explain why the officers involved said they believed they were responding to a terrorist threat and whether that had any role in how he was treated.

Bayoh’s death is being investigated by Scotland’s police watchdog, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (PIRC).

The new information was revealed yesterday at the launch of the Justice for Sheku Bayoh Campaign in Glasgow, which was attended by around 200 people including Bayoh’s three sisters Adama Jalloh, 35, Kadi Johnson, 37 and Kosna Bayoh, 40.

Johnson said: “He loved his family and he also loved the people of Scotland. He was a fine young man, a hard working boy. How come we still don’t know the truth?

“For us his family, we will not be able to rest until we get justice. We, his sisters, will not rest until we get justice.

“And the people of Scotland that he loved should not rest too until we get justice.”

Anwar described Bayoh, from Sierra Leone, as a “well-liked, healthy young man”, who had moved to Kirkcaldy when he was 17 to live with his sister Kadi.

His family say they have been told by friends of Bayoh that he was “not being himself” on the morning of his death, however they added that the trainee gas engineer had no history of violence.

Anwar said: “The family want to ask whether Sheku Bayoh would have died if he had not met the police.

“Twelve weeks on the family believe the answer to that question is no.”

He added: “I never knew Sheku Bayoh, he wasn’t rich or a powerful man but what I have learned in the 12 weeks since his death is that he has a stubborn family, who love him a great deal – three sisters, his mother, brother-in-law Adie and his partner Colette, who all refuse to be bullied, lied to or to be silenced.

“Six-month-old Isaac and four-year-old Tyler will never see their father Sheku again.”

Anwar said the family believed ‘negative imagery’ of Bayoh put out by police had been used to enforce an image of a “mad and dangerous” man.

But he said: “It has repeatedly been claimed that a 6ft plus male was brandishing a knife when the police arrived and the media was told early that morning a police officer had been stabbed.

“The family also claim they were told in the hours following Sheku’s death by a senior police officer that Sheku attacked a police woman with a knife, hence why CS spray and batons were used upon him.

“The family now know as a fact that when the police arrived Sheku Bayoh was not carrying no knife, he never threatened them with a knife, nor was one ever found on his body.”

Anwar also called for answers about why Bayoh was apparently viewed as a terrorist threat by some police officers.

He said: “The family of Sheku Bayoh want Chief Constable Stephen House to explain to them why his police officers in Fife believed that they were dealing with a terrorist threat and whether that had any role to play in Sheku Bayoh’s subsequent treatment.”

Ade Johnson, Bayoh’s brother- in-law, cited examples of previous cases of deaths at the hands of police, including Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes who was shot dead ten years ago in London while making his way to work by officers who mistook him for a terror suspect in the wake of the 7-7 attacks.

He said: “In the UK at least thousands of police officers have been investigated for alleged assault, most of whom have not been suspended. What type of society are we in? Who polices the police? Who are the police accountable to?”

Johnson said the family were calling on Chief Constable Stephen House for answers.

He said: “There are too many questions and not enough answers, no transparency. Ten years from now we will still remember Sheku - so will his two sons who will be ten and 13 and will be asking questions about their Dad.

“Sheku loved the people of Scotland and Kirkcaldy and now is the time for us to show our love and support for the Justice for Sheku Bayoh campaign and for Sheku.”

The event, organised jointly with Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, was also attended by other campaigners whose relatives have died while in police custody.

They included Janet Alder, the sister of Christopher Alder, 37, who choked to death on the floor of a Hull police station in April 1998, and Marcia Rigg, sister of Sean Rigg, who died after being restrained at Brixton police station, south London, in August 2008.

Calum Steele, General Secretary of the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) said: “The SPF is as eager as anyone for the outcome of the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayou to be made known.

“Reacting to snippets of information that may or may not be true whilst an investigation is underway is not in anyone’s best interests.”

The Sunday Herald tried to contact Police Scotland’s media office last night for comment however the call was directed to a recorded message saying the line was ‘not available’. However, the Press Association reported comments from Chief Superintendent Garry McEwan who said Police Scotland was awaiting the conclusion of the PIRC investigation and the force remained committed to co-operating fully with the PIRC’s inquiries.

He added: “I would like to again take this opportunity to offer my condolences to the family and we continue to offer support to them as required.”

A spokesman for the PIRC said: “We fully empathise with the deceased’s family at this very difficult time and their need for answers in relation to the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh on 3 May 2015.

“Our investigators are carrying out an extensive enquiry, which has many different facets that require to be thoroughly investigated. For that reason, it is only right that such serious matters are given careful consideration and the Lord Advocate is aware of progress made by the enquiry.

“A report on the PIRC’s findings will be submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in due course.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “The PIRC is currently conducting an independent investigation. It is important we all await the findings of this robust and thorough investigation. We cannot comment on individual cases or ongoing investigations by the PIRC.

“The Scottish Government believes that the investigative powers the PIRC has are sufficient, and the PIRC has not indicated they require any additional powers in order to undertake their role effectively.”