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Thursday, 30 January, 2003, 15:54 GMT
'My father didn't have to die'
Krista Davis
Ms Davis thinks of her father (pictured behind) daily

The daughter of a man shot dead by police gives BBC News Online her reaction to a report which calls on the police to tighten up gun use.
Krista Davis expected her father to die in hospital of an alcohol-related illness.

Not at his girlfriend's Surrey home, shot by a single bullet through the heart.

Derek Bateman was 47 at the time and nearly four years later, Krista, 26, still finds it difficult to bear.

She spoke to BBC News Online on the day a report by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) urged armed police to tighten up its handling of incidents involving disturbed individuals.

I have to be neutral because I don't want my children growing up thinking 'We hate the police'

Krista Davis
The mother-of-two from Guildford said: "The fact it was the police made it twice as hard.

"If he had been walking down the street and he was shot, then there's someone to blame.

"You can hope that someone goes to prison and someone pays for it."

Among 24 shooting incidents studied by the PCA, 11 involved individuals who may have had a death wish, two were mentally ill and five were drunk or on drugs.

One of those five was Mr Bateman, an alcoholic and depressive, who in June 1999, had an argument with his girlfriend at her house in Dorking.

'No-one phoned'

She went into a neighbour's home and called the police, telling them he had a gun and had threatened to kill her.

Seven police officers, including four armed officers, arrived and surrounded the house.

They shouted for him to come out and 10 minutes later, he appeared at a bedroom window and confirmed he had a gun.

When he reappeared with the airgun visible, he was shot and when the police got to him, found to be dead.

Police at a siege in Hackney, London
Police have to handle dangerous gunmen
Ms Davis, who has a younger brother, said: "No-one phoned us to ask about his background or his situation.

"Anyone of us would have walked straight into that house."

She said the police should have given him more time by taking into account that he had been drinking and deducing his reactions were slower.

Ms Davis thinks lives could be saved if the police did not shoot targets in the torso.

And the "soft" bullets used are more dangerous, she claimed, because they do not travel right through the body.

Negotiating training

Asked why her father kept a gun, she said: "My dad loved John Wayne, but is that a crime? It's not against the law to keep an air pistol.

"Maybe it should be and lives would be saved, but the police seem to kill those unarmed or those with air guns."

Ms Davis also believes there should be more training for officers to negotiate sensitive situations.

I hope the report leads to improvements and no-one else gets killed

Krista Davis
She described her father as a "gentle giant" who was kind and loving, although his illness meant he was in and out of hospital.

"There's not a day goes by without me thinking about what happened and replaying it in your mind.

"It's still continuing and has never gone away - I don't think it ever will.

"I hope the report leads to improvements and no-one else gets killed.

"And no other family has to suffer like us."

But she is determined her experience will not make her anti-police, for the sake of her children.

"I can't turn to them and say 'the police are wrong and horrible'.

"I have to be neutral because I don't want my children growing up thinking 'We hate the police.'"

See also:

30 Jan 03 | UK
12 Jan 03 | Politics
24 Jan 03 | England
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