Page last updated at 13:04 GMT, Monday, 15 October 2007 14:04 UK

'Special bullets' killed Menezes

Jean Charles de Menezes
Mr de Menezes was mistaken for a suicide bomber

Specialised bullets designed to kill instantly were used by the police marksmen who shot dead Jean Charles de Menezes, the Old Bailey has heard.

The bullets "immediately incapacitate" the victim and flatten, rather than pass through the other side of a body, the jury was told.

The Metropolitan Police is on trial over the 2005 Stockwell Tube shooting.

The force denies breaking health and safety laws when it mistook Mr de Menezes for a suicide bomber.

It faces a single charge of exposing the public to risk.

The force has been accused of making "fundamental failures" in the way it handled the operation.

Specialist firearms officers used hollow-point 124 grain bullets, employed by US air marshals.

This is a more effective bullet in the context of dealing with a suicide bomber
'Andrew'
Firearms adviser

A senior firearms advisor, known as "Andrew" to protect his anonymity, said the decision to use this ammunition was made to help police chasing the failed 21 July suicide bombers.

He also stressed that officers were trained to fire "as a last resort, when conventional methods have failed".

The advisor, who was an acting superintendent at the time of the fatal shooting, told the court that he opted for the bullets.

He said the usual, more powerful ammunition - 9mm jacketed soft point bullets - would pass through the other side.

"The bullet flattens on impact and immediately incapacitates the target," he told the court.

He continued: "This is a more effective bullet in the context of dealing with a suicide bomber as there is more chance of incapacitating a subject with a single shot.

'Absolutely necessary'

"A direct to brain stem shot is the only way to incapacitate a subject. You need a bullet that dumps all its energy into the subject."

The advisor added that should only fire when it is "absolutely necessary", they should act "proportionately" and "in compliance with the law".

And, describing the training regime used to develop firearms skills, the advisor told the court officers were required to achieve 70% accuracy with their shooting and underwent two periods of four full days' training every year.

Mr de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian, was shot seven times in the head on a train at Stockwell station after being wrongly identified.




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