Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Tuesday, 23 October 2007 17:35 UK

Menezes commander 'would do same'

Cressida Dick
Cressida Dick headed police when Me de Menezes was shot

The head of the police operation that led to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes has said she would not have acted differently.

"Given what I now know and what I was told at the time, I wouldn't change those decisions," Cressida Dick said.

She said suggestions she had lied at the Old Bailey trial were "outrageous".

The Metropolitan Police is on trial on health and safety charges over the operation when Mr de Menezes was shot dead in mistake for a terrorist.

Might have been

Mr de Menezes was shot by firearms officers at Stockwell Underground station after being followed from flats linked to 21 July bomber Hussain Osman. Ms Dick, then a Commander, was in charge of the operation.

Ms Dick, now a Deputy Assistant Commissioner, told the court: "I have of course thought hundreds and hundreds of times what might have been different, what might have kept Mr de Menezes alive.

"In relation to my own decisions, given what I now know and what I was told at the time, I wouldn't change those decisions."

'Acted diligently'

Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, suggested Ms Dick "fell well short" of ensuring everything reasonable and practical was done to manage the operation's risks.

She replied: "I entirely disagree. I, like everybody else, was coming into work that morning with the intention of trying to keep everybody safe. I and others acted diligently throughout. We did our very best trying to save life."

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, asked Ms Dick how she felt at the suggestion she had lied to the court.

She said: "My initial reaction was that it is outrageous. That is perhaps an emotional reaction. I would never do that."

Ms Dick said she would be the "first person" to recognise if she had failed in her duty.

The jury was told the officer may still face internal disciplinary procedures after the trial, but she learned in July 2006 she would not be subject to criminal charges, including manslaughter.

'Not convinced'

Mr Dick was asked whether stopping Mr de Menezes outside the station would have been safer.

She said: "I have for obvious reasons reflected on it a great deal. I am not convinced it was necessarily safer.

"Since then I have learnt a great deal more, because of my present role, about the effects of blasts and fragmentation and I think it is by no means clear on reflection that it was a very much less risky place."

Ms Dick said she was told Mr de Menezes was still in the ticket hall when surveillance officers were ordered to stop him entering the station.

The times recorded could be wrong, she added.

Miss Montgomery suggested the log showed Ms Dick failed to give the order to stop Mr de Menezes until he was down the escalator to the Tube.

"I don't accept that," responded Ms Dick.

The trial was adjourned until Thursday.

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