OPERATIONS commander, Cressida Dick, gave ‘ambiguous’ orders in the run-up to the police killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, the inquest into his death heard yesterday.
Ex-Met Police deputy assistant commissioner, Brian Paddick, was questioned by Michael Mansfield QC, representing the de Menezes family, about an order given by Cressida Dick – who has since been promoted to Deputy Assistant Commissioner to ‘arrest him, but whatever you do, don’t let him get on the tube’.
Paddick said: ‘I think in the scenario that we had, where you have got a DSO (designated senior officer, Dick), you have got officers with unusual ammunition, you have got a suspected suicide bomber, that order is ambiguous and it could mean one or two things depending on your frame of mind as to how you interpret it.’
He said that Met Police policy is firearms officers should warn suspects before opening fire if they were not positively identified as a terrorist.
He said: ‘If there is nothing that they see that undermines what the DSO has told them, then they are authorised to take a critical shot without warning.’
However, he stressed: ‘If, having been authorised to take the critical shot, the firearms officers have some doubt, there’s an extra bit of information that clearly the DSO has not had, who’s not there on the scene, then the firearms officers should give a warning and then respond to the suspect on the basis of how the suspect responds to that warning.’
Pathologist Dr Kenneth Shorrock also gave evidence at the inquest yesterday.
He said he was told by officers that the young Brazilian had jumped over a barrier before ‘stumbling’ down an escalator.
Dr Shorrock carried out post-mortem examinations on de Menezes and in the hours after the shooting he said he was given a ‘walk-through’ with officers at the scene.
When asked why there were ‘significant errors’ in his initial report, he said he was not sure who told him de Menezes had ‘vaulted’ the barrier in the moments before his death.
He insisted: ‘This was what was told to me.
‘What happened at that time was that there were a lot of officers present and we were taken through.’
Dr Shorrock added: ‘I did not write anything down. I did not make any note of who told me what – but, at the next opportunity that I had, I got my Dictaphone.’
He also said ‘I cannot recall’ if other interested parties were at the station during the walk-through.
‘The senior investigation officer had input and I spoke to him, but I spoke to a number of people.’
In evidence earlier in the day, Dr Shorrock said de Menezes would not have survived any of the four bullet wounds to his brain.