Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Instant Killing Was Only Option' - Police; De Menezes Jury Told of Vital Minutes

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Instant Killing Was Only Option' - Police; De Menezes Jury Told of Vital Minutes

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Greenwood

THE officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes were convinced he was a suicide bomber who could only be stopped by an "instant killing", an inquest heard yesterday.

Coroner Sir Michael Wright said the innocent Brazilian was shot at Stockwell Tube station even though no surveillance officer positively identified him as a terrorist.

He outlined how senior officers overseeing the operation at Scotland Yard thought he was on-the-run failed suicide bomber Hussain Osman.

The crucial 33 minutes as Mr de Menezes travelled to work on July 22 2005 were dramatically relived on the first day of the inquest into his death.

Sir Michael recreated desperate police efforts to track down the men responsible for attempting to create carnage on the London transport network.

Jurors were told two specialist marksmen rushed on board a Tube train and shot the 27-year-old in the head as he was pinned to his seat by an undercover officer known as Ivor.

The two firearms officers - identified only as Charlie Two and Charlie 12 - will give evidence in public for the first time later in the inquest.

Sir Michael said: "Both officers state that they were convinced Mr de Menezes was a suicide bomber, that he was about to detonate a bomb and unless he was prevented from so doing everybody present in that carriage was going to die.

Each officer says he was convinced that an instant killing was the only option open to him."

Sir Michael told the jury: "It will be for you to consider what level of identification was made at different stages, what was communicated to the firearms officers, and what those officers believed the position to be."

The coroner said the electrician was killed instantly.

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr de Menezes had been shot seven times in the head. The first evidence to be heard during the 12-week inquest at the Oval cricket ground outlined apparent misunderstandings between surveillance and firearms officers. …

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