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Public inquiry opens into Met police killing of unarmed Jermaine Baker | Police


A public inquiry into the death of an unarmed man shot by a Metropolitan police marksman during a foiled prison break has heard that a bug in the getaway car picked up the occupants saying they did not have a real gun.

The opening day of the hearing on Monday also heard that Jermaine Baker may have been asleep shortly before armed police descended on the car and he was shot.

Baker, a father of two, was among a group of men trying in December 2015 to spring Izzet Eren free, as he was being brought in a prison van from Wormwood Scrubs to Wood Green crown court in north London for sentencing for a firearms offence.

Baker, 28, died of a single gunshot wound inflicted by a police marksman known only as W80, who said he thought Baker – who was sitting in the front passenger seat of a stolen Audi waiting for the van – was reaching for a gun.

It emerged at the inquiry on Monday that W80 went missing, was declared “a high-risk missing person” and tried to kill himself shortly after the fatal shooting.

W80 was arrested on suspicion of murder but was never charged and ultimately the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to pursue any criminal charges against him.

No firearm was found following the fatal shooting, but police did recover an imitation Uzi machine gun in the rear of the car. Police were aware of the planned prison break and had been conducting surveillance in an operation codenamed Ankaa.

Police had covertly fitted a tracker and audio probe to the stolen getaway car. Kate Blackwell QC, counsel to the public inquiry, said that intelligence was obtained prior to the fatal police shooting that only a replica firearm was available to the men.

A transcript of the conversation in the car shortly before the police approached included the words: “Where’s the shottie? We’re not getting it.”

“It’s clear that what was being discussed was the lack of a real firearm,” said Blackwell.

Issues about failure to communicate intelligence between different police teams were raised at the hearing. Blackwell said that in his evidence W80 had said that everything happened very quickly and that Baker failed to put his hands on the car dashboard as he instructed him to and he thought Baker was reaching for a gun.

An audio recording was played of loud breathing or snoring in the car shortly before the police approached. The other occupants believed Baker was sleeping shortly before the police surrounded the car.

Blackwell said: “W80 may not have allowed Mr Baker enough time to observe oral warnings given to him … W80 discharged his weapon very shortly after opening the car door.”

The inquiry chair, Clement Goldstone QC, praised Baker’s family in his opening remarks. He said: “Jermaine Baker’s family have waited anxiously but patiently and always courteously for this day.”

Almost 25,000 pages of evidence, some of it redacted, have been disclosed to the inquiry.

The hearing continues.


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