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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 July 2005, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Shooting officer sent on holiday
Jean Charles de Menezes
Mr Menezes was shot after being mistaken for a suicide bomber
A police officer involved in the fatal shooting of an innocent Brazilian man at a London Tube station has been given a holiday paid for by Scotland Yard.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair personally authorised the break for the officer and his family.

Jean Charles de Menezes was shot eight times at Stockwell on Friday after fleeing three undercover officers who had mistaken him for a suicide bomber.

The body of Mr Menezes, 27, is due to be flown back to Brazil on Wednesday.

Non-firearm duties

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the death.

Mr Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder after apparently refusing police demands to stop.

The officers had followed him in the belief he may be a suicide bomber, but it later transpired the electrician had no connection to terrorism.

The officers have been moved to non-firearm duties for the duration of the IPCC probe, expected to take several months.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "An officer has had a break paid for by the Metropolitan Police, authorised by the commissioner, to allow him to take his wife and family away from the family home."

One of the other officers is already on a family holiday.

Return of body

Relatives and friends of Mr Menezes have marched in his Brazilian hometown of Gonzaga, calling for arrests over the killing.

The victim's family has also consulted lawyers about possible legal action against the police.

At a press conference held in London on Wednesday, the family's lawyer Gareth Peirce said there were "101" questions to be asked about the facts, and "1001" about the policies underlying the "shoot-to-kill" tactics used by police.

She said an inquiry into the killing should be held as soon as possible to try to lessen the family's anguish.

"The family would be ready to have an inquiry tomorrow," she said.

She criticised officials who had defended the "shoot-to-kill" policy in public before an inquiry had been held into Mr Menezes' death.

'Dreadful mistake'

Relatives are due to accompany his body on the flight to Brazil on Wednesday. A family funeral will take place there later.

Sir Ian told Channel Four News on Tuesday that the shooting had been a "dreadful mistake" but that police had to protect the public.

A "shoot-to-kill" policy for UK police dealing with suicide bombers, codenamed Operation Kratos, was introduced six months after the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Officers are advised that aiming for the head is the most effective way of stopping any explosives a suspect may be carrying from being detonated.

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