Shot Brazilian 'did not jump barrier and run'

London Telegraph | August 18, 2005
By Philip Johnston

The Brazilian electrician shot dead by police on the London Underground last month was being restrained when he was killed by officers from Scotland Yard's firearms unit, according to documents leaked last night.

Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head by two plainclothes policemen who had followed him on to the train at Stockwell station in the mistaken belief that he was a potential suicide bomber.

Documents and photographs leaked to ITV News also confirmed that Mr de Menezes did not run from the police, as had been reported, had used his Tube pass to enter the station, rather than vault the barrier, and had taken a seat on the train before being grabbed by an officer.

He was wearing a light denim jacket and not as previously reported a padded coat which could have concealed explosives.

The documents, which contain witness statements made to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, also suggest that the intelligence operation may have been botched because an officer watching a flat believed to be the hideout of one of the suspects in the abortive July 21 attack was "relieving himself".

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has apologised for the death of Mr de Menezes and a senior officer has visited Brazil to talk to his family. However, the latest disclosures will cast fresh light on Sir Ian's insistence that the death was the tragic consequence of a legitimate operation.

Shortly after the shooting, Sir Ian said: "Whatever else they were doing, they clearly thought they were faced with a suicide bomber and they were running towards him. Had that person been a suicide bomber and had the officers not fired and 25 yards up the track the bomb had exploded, the officers would be in a worse situation than they are now."

He insisted that lethal force was the only option available to his officers once they had satisfied themselves Mr de Menezes was a suicide bomber. Yet a few days later, West Midlands police used a Taser stun weapon to arrest Yasin Hassan Omar, one of the July 21 suspects. Mr de Menezes was killed the day after the failed attacks on Tube trains and a bus.

Guidelines issued since the September 11 attacks emphasise that police must not challenge suicide bombers or identify themselves for fear of prompting the bomber to detonate his device. Instead, they may fire a "critical head shot prior to challenge".

The complaints commission has taken statements from officers in the operation. Among the questions being asked is why the intelligence on the occupants of the flats suspected of harbouring the terror suspects failed to identify Mr de Menezes as an innocent party.

It will also seek to establish why he was allowed to board a bus when buses had been targets in the two previous attacks. His family cannot reconcile the police assertion that he had to be stopped once he had boarded a Tube train with the fact that he got on to a bus.

Questions will also be asked over why the impression that he was wearing a padded fleece was given continued credence when the photographs broadcast last night show him dressed differently. Wearing bulky clothing not in keeping with the weather is considered a sign of a potential suicide bomber.

Scotland Yard said last night that it was unable to comment on any reports about the incident while it was being investigated.