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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 November, 2004, 16:16 GMT
Gun death officers stay suspended
Harry Stanley
The officers thought Harry Stanley was carrying a gun
Two police officers who shot dead an unarmed man in east London in 1999 must remain suspended, London's incoming chief of police has said.

Pc Kevin Fagan and Inspector Neil Sharman were suspended last week after an inquest jury ruled that Harry Stanley, 46, was unlawfully killed.

Sir Ian Blair, who takes over as Met Police Commissioner in the New Year, said the verdict could not be ignored.

The allegations against the pair were of the "utmost seriousness", he said.

Mr Stanley was walking home from a pub in Hackney carrying a broken table leg in a carrier bag when he was shot dead.
The family reject the idea of a halfway house. The family considers that the officers should remain suspended and should not return to work in any capacity albeit limited pending a decision on charges by the CPS
Stanley family statement

Mr Fagan and Mr Sharman had mistaken the table leg for a shotgun.

They were acting on an erroneous tip-off from a member of the public who reported a man carrying a firearm in a plastic bag.

An inquest in June 2002 recorded an open verdict but a second inquest, held after an appeal by Mr Stanley's family, found he had been unlawfully killed.

Public interest

The officers were suspended last week, sparking an unofficial strike by police firearms officers.

But, following a review of the suspensions, Sir Ian said it would be "contrary to the public interest" to put them back on duty.

He said he would review the suspended status of the officers on a monthly basis until the Crown Prosecution Service made a decision on whether to charge them with criminal offences.

He also vowed to carry out a further review to see whether in future there could be an alternative to formal suspension for officers in similar circumstances.

At the end of the day, police officers are human, aren't they? They don't have X-ray vision. They didn't know what was in that bag
Alison Fagan

The Stanley family welcomed his decision not to reinstate the officers.

But, in a statement, they said they were "very concerned" about his plans to review the suspensions and for possible alternatives to suspension in future cases.

They said: "The family reject the idea of a halfway house. The family considers that the officers should remain suspended and should not return to work in any capacity albeit limited pending a decision on charges by the CPS."

Earlier, Mr Fagan's wife Alison told BBC News her husband had not been given the support he needed by the Metropolitan Police since Mr Stanley's death.

Mrs Fagan, who is also a serving police officer, said her husband had been treated as "an embarrassment".

She said: "I have every sympathy with (Mr Stanley's) family. They have lost a husband and nobody wants to be in that position.

"However, from day one, the Stanley family have been on the television and radio and in the press and that is very, very stressful to have to deal with when nobody knows our side of the story.

"At the end of the day, police officers are human, aren't they? They don't have X-ray vision. They didn't know what was in that bag."




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