Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Officer Who a Shot Colleague during Training Had 'Reverted to Real Life' ; Two Officers in the Dock over His killingPolice Chief Admits Force Safety Breach

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Officer Who a Shot Colleague during Training Had 'Reverted to Real Life' ; Two Officers in the Dock over His killingPolice Chief Admits Force Safety Breach

Article excerpt

APOLICE officer was shot dead as he role-played a 'bad guy' in a firearms training exercise after a pal 'reverted to real life' and shot him in the chest, a trial heard.

Pc Ian Terry died after being shot at 'near point blank range' with a pump action shotgun by his friend, who can only be identified as 'Pc Chris'.

Officers using shotguns on that day had been warned to keep their weapons pointed at the ground, the court heard.

But when Pc Chris raised his weapon in the instant before pulling the trigger, none of the officers in charge was close enough to stop the fatal blunder, Manchester Crown Court was told.

Pc Chris was supposed to shoot only at a tyre of the car Pc Terry was in, the court heard.

Two officers from the Tactical Firearms Unit said to be in charge of organising and ensuring the safety of the training session at a Newton Heath warehouse on June 9, 2008, are accused in a Manchester Crown Court trial of being responsible for a 'perfect storm' of failings that led to the killing.

The pair, who can be identified only as 'Pc Francis' and 'Sgt Eric' because of the nature of their work, deny failing to discharge a duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The jury was told that Ch Con Peter Fahy has admitted a health and safety offence on behalf of GMP.

The officers were simulating a scenario where firearms officers closed in on a suspect's vehicle when the tragedy happened. Pc Terry, 32, from Burnley, was a passenger in the suspect vehicle and brandished a handgun at colleagues simulating the strike in the instant before he was shot, the court heard.

Andrew Menary QC, prosecuting, told the jury in his opening statement that in a training session a week earlier, on June 2, officers had been warned to keep shotguns pointed at the ground in the fastmoving exercise for safety reasons, but struggled with the instinct to raise their weapons.

'Firearms officers have ingrained instinct' Mr Menary, told the jury that when Pc Chris raised his weapon and shot Pc Terry a week later, safety officers who should have stopped him were taking a 'casual approach' and 'standing back from the action' when they should have been 'shadowing the shotgunners closely'. …

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