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Wednesday, August 26, 1998 Published at 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK


UK

Police chief quizzed over shooting



The Chief Constable of Sussex - one of the UK's most senior police officers - is to face questioning over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

Chief Constable Paul Whitehouse, 53, will be interviewed as part of a top-level inquiry into a bungled operation by his officers during which known cocaine dealer James Ashley, 39, was killed.

Mr Ashley, who had a previous conviction for manslaughter, was in bed with his teenage girlfriend when armed police carried out a 4am raid on his flat in St Leonards, East Sussex, in January.

He was shot and fatally wounded.


Officer who pulled the trigger "felt threatened"
Mr Whitehouse immediately issued a statement supporting the conduct of his officers.

Sussex police said the raid was intended to apprehend two drug dealers who had tried to stab a third man outside a bar.

It was later revealed that Mr Ashley had intervened in a fight to prevent a man being killed.

Mr Whitehouse and three other senior officers - his deputy Mark Jordan and Assistant Chief Constables Nigel Yeo and Maria Wallis - will be questioned as part of an investigation into their behaviour during an inquiry into the shooting by the Police Complaints Authority.

Police 'hampered' investigation

It was alleged during the inquest into Mr Ashley's death that police officers had hampered inquiries because they were "unable to remember" key facts from the case.

Senior police officers in the Sussex force were also accused of "misrepresenting" intelligence used to justify the raid.

Five junior officers involved in the raid have already been suspended, pending the outcome of a criminal investigation.

The officer who shot Mr Ashley may face criminal charges.

Mr Whitehouse and his colleagues will be questioned by an investigative team under the Chief Constable of Hampshire, Sir John Hoddinott.





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23 May 98 | UK
Four police officers suspended after fatal shooting





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