The jury at the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes has returned an open verdict; it had already been forbidden from returning one of unlawful killing, the other option being one of lawful killing. Mr de Menezes was shot dead by armed police officers at Stockwell tube station on the 22nd of July 2005.
The coroner had asked the jury to consider a series of questions, the answers to which could be Yes, No or Cannot decide:
“Did firearms officer C12 shout armed police?” ANSWER: NO
“Did Mr de Menezes stand up from his seat before he was grabbed in a bear hug by officer Ivor?” ANSWER: YES
“Did Mr de Menezes move towards C12 before he was grabbed in a bear hug by Ivor?” ANSWER: NO
The also asked the jury to consider which of these other factors, if any, contributed to the death. The Jury were allowed to answer “yes”, “no” or “cannot decide”.
“The pressure on police after the suicide attacks in July 2005.” ANSWER: CANNOT DECIDE
“A failure to obtain and provide better photographic images of failed bomber Hussain Osman to surveillance officers.” ANSWER: YES
“The general difficulty in providing identification of the man under surveillance in the time available.” ANSWER: NO
“The fact that the views of the surveillance officers regarding identification were not accurately communicated to the command team and firearms officers. ANSWER: YES
“A failure by police to ensure that Mr de Menezes was stopped before he reached public transport.” ANSWER: YES
“The innocent behaviour of Mr de Menezes increasing suspicion.” ANSWER: NO
The fact that the position of the cars containing the firearms officers was not accurately known by the command team as firearms teams were approaching Stockwell Tube.” ANSWER: YES
“Shortcomings in the communications system between various police teams on the ground.” ANSWER: YES
“Failure to conclude at the time that surveillance officers could have been used to carry out the stop on Mr de Menezes at Stockwell.” ANSWER: YES
The police and the de Menezes family have very differing analyses of what the verdict implies with the family’s lawyer calling for the possibility of perjury by the police officers to be investigated. This suggestion has been rejected by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Acting Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said Mr de Menezes’ death had been a “most terrible mistake”, which he “deeply regretted”.
“He was an innocent man and we must accept full responsibility for his death,”