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Thursday 28 August 2014

Fatal shooting by police that sparked London riots was lawful, inquest finds

Tom Rowley, Edward Malnick and agencies

Published 09/01/2014 | 02:30

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FILE - JANUARY 08, 2014: The jury in the inquest into the 2011 shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, London have reached a conclusion which will be made public later this afternoon. Sporadic looting and clashes with police spread across England after the killing of the 29-year-old father of four by armed police in an attempted arrest on August 4, 2011. LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  A riot police officer stands in front of a burning car during riots in Clarence Road, Hackney on August 8, 2011 in London, England. Pockets of rioting and looting continues to take place in various parts of London this evening prompted by the initial rioting in Tottenham and then in Brixton on Sunday night. Disturbances broke out late on Saturday night in Tottenham and the surrounding area after the killing of Mark Duggan, 29 and a father-of-four, by armed police in an attempted arrest on August 4.  (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
A riot police officer stands in front of a burning car during riots in Clarence Road, Hackney
Video grab of Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley talking outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London after a jury found that Mark Duggan was lawfully killed when he was shot dead by a police marksman. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 8, 2014. See PA story INQUEST Duggan. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
Mark Rowley after the inquest

Mark Duggan, the 29-year-old whose fatal shooting by the Metropolitan Police sparked the 2011 London riots, was killed lawfully, an inquest has concluded.

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Jurors delivered their conclusions to a coroner after four months of evidence and deliberation at the High Court in London. They reached their conclusion by a majority of eight to two.

The jury ruled that Mr Duggan had a gun in the taxi in which he was travelling in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011, before it was stopped by police. By a majority of nine to one, they ruled that it was more likely than not that he had thrown it on to a grassy area near the scene as soon as the car was stopped.

Mr Duggan was shot after police marksmen stopped the taxi. Rioting broke out across London and in several English cities days later. The inquest into his death began in September.

Speaking on the steps of the court, Mr Duggan's aunt, Carole Duggan, claimed Mr Duggan had been "executed". She said the family would fight "until we have no breath left in our bodies". His brother, Shaun Hall, said: "We came for justice today -- we don't feel we are leaving with justice."

Marcia Willis Stewart, the family's lawyer, called the jury's conclusions a "perverse judgment". She said the family were in a state of shock. "For us, that is an unlawful killing."

Mr Duggan's family reacted angrily as the jury read out its conclusions. Supporters shouted: "Murderers."

Mark Rowley, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, struggled to make himself heard as he delivered a statement on behalf of the force in front of the High Court.

"No officer sets out at the start of the day to run an operation that results in someone dying," he said. "So our sympathy today is with Mark Duggan's family. They have lost a loved one.

"But the task our officers face in making split-second decisions when confronting armed criminals means there is a risk -- a very small risk -- that this will happen. Armed criminals have shot dead more than 50 people in London in the last three-and-a-half years. We send out well-trained, professional armed officers thousands of times a year to combat this threat, only firing shots once or twice."

REVIEWED

The family are considering whether to apply for the conclusions to be judicially reviewed, according to Deborah Coles from the charity Inquest.

"The family are going to consider the next steps and are going to consider whether they will judicially review the decision," she said.

David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, said the events surrounding Mr Duggan's death still required "further clarification". He said: "There are fundamental and lingering issues that the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation -- now re-opened -- must attempt to clarify."

Speaking before the verdict, Mr Duggan's mother Pamela labelled Scotland Yard "bullies" and said she would not trust the police again.

"I think they're bullies," she said. "What do you get out of shooting a bullet in my son twice? If he's done something wrong, handcuff him and take him and put him in a cell." (© BBC News/ Daily Telegraph, London)

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