Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

NO COVER-UP, SAYS SIR IAN; 'We All Believed Shot Man Was Suicide Bomber'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

NO COVER-UP, SAYS SIR IAN; 'We All Believed Shot Man Was Suicide Bomber'

Article excerpt

Byline: JUSTIN DAVENPORT

MET chief Sir Ian Blair this afternoon denied there had been a cover-up over the shooting dead by police of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Speaking exclusively to the Evening Standard, Sir Ian rejected calls for his resignation. He said: "These allegations strike to the heart of the integrity of the police and integrity of the Met and I fundamentally reject them. There is no cover-up."

In a passionate defence of the force and his officers, he said that he and senior colleagues were convinced at the time that Brazilian Mr de Menezes was a suicide bomber about to attack a Tube train at Stockwell station.

His comments came as he was under intense pressure over initial police accounts of the shooting which subsequently proved to be wrong.

Sir Ian described the death of Mr de Menezes as a tragedy, saying the Met had apologised to the family and, if necessary he would make that apology again.

However, he said that the shooting should be placed in the context of the events of 7/7 and the second attempt on 21/7. He described how senior officers were reacting to events at great

speed and under intense pressures.

He said: "Those making comments about how this was done have no idea about the speed of events and the pressures and how quickly decisions had to be made."

Commenting on calls for his resignation he added: "My response is I am not going to resign. I have a job to do."

He said his own position was nothing compared to that of relatives who had lost loved ones in the bombings nor did it bear comparison to "the officers who took the decision, who fired the shots or were involved on the Tube, my heart goes out to them". Sir Ian said "I am not defending myself against making a mistake or being wrong but I am defending myself against any allegation that I did not act in good faith. …

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