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Tuesday, 22 May, 2001, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Victim's family calls for justice
James Ashley's brother Tony outside Wolverhampton Crown Court
James Ashley's brother Tony: "We have not got justice"
James Ashley's two children intend to sue Sussex police after three senior officers were cleared of any wrongdoing over his death during a police raid at his home.

Their solicitor Brian Jackson said: "Mr Ashley's children are now pursuing a negligence case against Sussex police to obtain compensation for the tragic loss of their father."

The Liverpool-based lawyer added: "The family of James Ashley hoped those responsible for his death would be successfully prosecuted.

"Their hopes, and faith in justice, have been cruelly dashed.


Those close to James Ashley find it hard to understand why the fact that an unarmed and naked man was shot and killed by police officers was regarded as irrelevant in this case

Solicitor, Brian Jackson
Mr Ashley, 39, was in bed, naked and unarmed, with his girlfriend when armed police burst into his flat in St Leonards, East Sussex, at 0400GMT on 15 January, 1998.

Police marksman PC Chris Sherwood, who shot him, was cleared of unlawful killing last month after he said he had fired in self-defence.

Mr Jackson said: "People will be left bewildered by this, as are the children of the deceased.

"Those close to James Ashley find it hard to understand why the fact that an unarmed and naked man was shot and killed by police officers was regarded as irrelevant in this case."

'Unacceptable loss'

Mr Ashley's brother Tony, an insolvency officer for Customs and Excise, said: "We reject the suggestion by the judge that he was into drugs.

The 32-year-old, from Liverpool, added: "We have been fighting this for three-and-a-half years and we have not got justice.

"We are considering taking this to Europe."

Mr Ashley's sister Pauline, 38, said: "We still mourn the unacceptable and unnecessary loss of a much-loved son and brother."

Miss Ashley, of Dingle, Liverpool, added: "We feel it is our right to emphasise the real victim in this case is James Ashley.


The case has been handled appallingly and this poor family has not had a proper account of what happened and who was responsible

Deborah Coles
Inquest
"We call on the Home Secretary to initiate an independent review into the appalling standards of policing in Sussex."

Deborah Coles, co-director of the pressure group Inquest, also called for an independent judicial inquiry.

"This goes right to the top," she said.

"The case has been handled appallingly and this poor family has not had a proper account of what happened and who was responsible."

The Chief Constable of Sussex police, Paul Whitehouse, said: "I think it's very sad that this has taken so long to reach this point which is unsatisfactory for all concerned.

"I feel for the family who do not have a conclusion.

"I feel for the officers who have been suspended for so long.

"I believe very strongly that we must devise a different method for establishing what happened at incidents like this."

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