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Last Updated: Monday, 19 February 2007, 18:27 GMT
Police 'almost shot' 21/7 suspect
Yassin Omar
Police "almost killed" Yassin Omar in a dawn raid
Police armed with sub-machine guns almost killed one of the 21 July bomb suspects when they arrested him in a dramatic dawn raid, a court has heard.

Woolwich Crown Court was told officers found Yassin Omar, 26, standing in the bath wearing what looked like a rucksack filled with explosives.

Specialist police officers threw stun grenades into every room before a violent struggle ended with his arrest.

Mr Omar and six other defendants deny charges of conspiracy to murder.

His arrest came six days after an alleged extremist Muslim plot to commit suicide bombings on the London Tube.

Twelve specialist officers armed with Heckler and Koch carbine sub-machine guns and Taser stun guns and wearing full body armour and helmets raided the house in Haybarns Road in Birmingham just after 0500 BST on 27 July.

'It was a violent struggle'

One officer said he punched Mr Omar, who was standing in the bath fully clothed, as hard as he could in the face while another repeatedly stunned him with a Taser gun.

At one point another officer had the safety catch off his sub-machine gun and was aiming his weapon at the back of Mr Omar's head.

Identified as PC 7512, he told the court: "In all honesty, I still don't know to this day how I did not shoot him."

I brought the point of my aim to the back of his head, during which time his hands disappeared towards his chest......I formed the opinion that I was going to have to shoot this man
Pc 7512

Mr Omar was eventually dragged out of the bathroom to the kitchen where his trousers and shirt were ripped off and the rucksack cut from his back.

The court was told how Mr Omar, of New Southgate in north London, fled London the day after the alleged attacks by disguising himself in a burkha and travelling to Birmingham by bus.

Pc 7512 said the bathroom was plunged into darkness because the light cord was wrapped round the inside door handle.

He and another officer, Pc 5566, threw a stun grenade inside, which set off an "extremely loud bang and bright flashes".

Relying on torches attached to their guns and helmets, the court heard they burst into the room to find Mr Omar in the bath, facing the tiled wall with the rucksack on his back.

"I had grave concerns about the rucksack on his back," Pc 7512 told the court.

"I brought the point of my aim to the back of his head, during which time his hands disappeared towards his chest.

"At this point I formed the opinion that I was going to have to shoot this man.

"I took the safety catch off my weapon and took the pressure on the trigger."

I had to resort to punching him as hard as I could in the face. It is a taught technique
Pc 5566

After much shouting, Mr Omar lifted his hands in the air for a second time and the officer replaced the safety catch.

He and Pc 5566 seized the defendant and, during a frantic struggle, tried to control his hands.

Pc 7512 said: "My concern was obviously his ability to detonate what I believed to be an explosive device so my priority was controlling his hands."

Pc 5566 said: "Due to my inability to deploy my Taser, I had to resort to punching him as hard as I could in the face. It is a taught technique."

A third officer, Sergeant 5755, used his Taser gun repeatedly.

He told the jury: "It was a really violent struggle, it was a melee."

Mr Omar denies charges of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life.

His co-defendants are Muktar Said Ibrahim, 29, of Stoke Newington, north London, Adel Yahya, 29, of High Road, Tottenham, north London, Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, 33, of no fixed address, Hussain Osman, 28, of no fixed address, and Ramzi Mohammed, 25, of North Kensington, west London.

The trial was adjourned.




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Police account as heard by the court



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