DCSIMG

Sir Ian tried to stall killing probe

Key points

• Police have admitted Sir Ian Blair tried to delay IPCC investigation

• Delay based on fears that enquiry would obstruct anti-terror agenda

• Unsure as yet as to whether police marksmen will face charges

Key quote

"Sir Ian Blair should resign. The lies that appear to have been put out, like the statement from Sir Ian Blair for instance, are clearly wrong. And nobody has stepped in to correct the lies. It's looking more and more that there was a deliberate cover-up, a deliberate prevention from the IPCC conducting a proper inquiry." - HARRIET WISTRICH, LAWYER FOR MENEZES FAMILY

Story in full SIR Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, tried to delay an independent investigation into the fatal shooting of an innocent man mistaken for a suicide bomber as he felt the force's main terror inquiry would be compromised, police have admitted.

The news, which follows leaked documents that contradicted previous accounts and identified a series of blunders which led to the killing of 27-year-old Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, has led to increased pressure on police.

One report yesterday suggested the police marksmen responsible could face murder charges, though a report has yet to be submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Yesterday, the family of Mr de Menezes called for Sir Ian's resignation as they blamed him for the "catalogue of disasters" that led to the young man's death.

The anger felt by his relatives was compounded by what lawyers for the family described as a "blanket of secrecy which has covered the true facts" and the "lies and scenarios" that have pervaded and gone unchallenged by police.

They said they had only just become aware that "virtually the entire body of information" surrounding his death has been false and called for a fresh inquiry, saying they had lost all confidence in the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Despite mounting pressure on the Metropolitan Police, there was still no official comment on the documents obtained by ITV News on Tuesday which re-ignited the controversy over the affair.

They appeared to suggest that Mr de Menezes had done little to arouse suspicion before he was shot dead at Stockwell Tube station, other than to emerge from a flat that had been under surveillance.

Further details emerged last night, as ITV reported that three surveillance officers had followed Mr de Menezes into the Tube carriage when he was shot. The four armed officers saw him for only a few seconds before they opened fire.

Scotland Yard confirmed that Sir Ian wrote to the Home Office on the morning of Mr de Menezes' death "to clarify the role of IPCC if, as it then appeared", the shooting involved a suicide bomber who had been involved in the previous day's attempted bombings.

"This was because it was crucial that the terrorist investigation took precedence over any IPCC investigation," it said.

As anger grew among Mr de Menezes's relatives after Tuesday night's disclosures, his cousin, Alex Alvez Pareira, said the officers involved should be "jailed for life" for what amounted to "murder".

Last night, the IPCC promised a "thorough and impartial" investigation and said it was planning to update the family's lawyers tomorrow.

An IPCC spokesman said the inquiry may be widened to look at whether the police deliberately misled the public.

Harriet Wistrich, the lawyer for Mr de Menezes's family, said they had always known his shooting was the result of a dreadful mistake and they "wanted answers" over why "misleading" information about his death had emerged.

She said later: "Sir Ian Blair should resign. The lies that appear to have been put out, like the statement from Sir Ian Blair for instance, are clearly wrong. And nobody has stepped in to correct the lies."

She added: "It's looking more and more that there was a deliberate cover-up, a deliberate prevention from the IPCC conducting a proper inquiry."

The Crown Prosecution Service, which will ultimately decide whether to prosecute any officer, said it was "too soon" to talk about charges.

HOW THE PUBLIC WAS MISLED

CLAIM: After the shooting, Sir Ian Blair said it was "directly linked" to the investigation into the London bombers.

FACT: The dead man was innocent.

CLAIM: Eye-witnesses and police sources said he was wearing a bulky jacket.

FACT: Mr de Menezes was wearing a denim jacket.

CLAIM: A witness said he saw a man vaulting a ticket barrier. Police endorsed this account.

FACT: CCTV pictures show Mr de Menezes using a travelcard to pass through the barrier. It has been suggested that the man seen vaulting the barrier may have been a plain clothes police officer in pursuit.

CLAIM: Sir Ian understood "the man was challenged and refused to obey instructions".

FACT: It appears there was no challenge and no instruction issued before shots were fired.

CLAIM: Sir Ian said officers "clearly thought they were faced with a suicide bomber".

FACT: An officer watching Mr de Menezes leave the building under surveillance told the IPCC: "As he walked out of my line of vision, I checked the photographs and transmitted that 'it would be worth somebody having a look'."

 
 
 

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