Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Friday, 12 December 2008

Menezes inquest: Key people


Since promoted to deputy assistant commissioner, Cressida Dick was the "gold commander" in charge of operations when Mr de Menezes was shot. It was her responsibility to oversee the various teams of surveillance and firearms officers on the ground and to sanction their actions.

Cressida Dick
Cressida Dick

She gave lengthy evidence during the 2007 Old Bailey trial - when the Met Police faced health and safety charges - knowing she could personally face criminal investigation. But when the jury found the force guilty, it took the unusual step of adding that no blame should be placed on Ms Dick's shoulders.

She told the inquest that messages from the surveillance teams were "clearly misinterpreted" but at the time of the operation, she had been sure they had stopped the right man.

"I think Mr de Menezes was the victim of some terrible and extraordinary circumstances," she told the inquest, before adding: "If you ask me whether I think anybody did anything wrong or unreasonable on the operation, I don't think they did."

An Oxford graduate, she is one of the top officers in the Metropolitan Police trained to deal with a terrorist emergency involving suicide bombers in the capital.

DAC Dick is extremely well respected by her colleagues. Officer after officer who appeared in the witness box at the inquest praised her handling of events on 22 July 2005.


John McDowall was the senior officer responsible for the tactics deployed to hunt down the failed 21/7 suicide bombers - and has since been promoted to head the UK's Counter-Terrorism Command.

John McDowall
John McDowall

On the day of Mr de Menezes' shooting, he briefly chaired a key meeting setting out strategy and tactics, including how officers should act if they identified one of the bombers. He then passed control to Commander Dick and her teams.

During the inquest, he accepted that the force could have better handled a key briefing for the surveillance officers, including the fact that some did not have an actual photograph in their hands of the suspected bomber.

But he stood by his original strategy, saying: "It is my belief that there was a mistaken identification and then there was doubt about whether that identification was correct or not. I think that was instrumental in bringing about the tragic outcome that we know of."


The inquest heard for the first time from the two officers from CO19, the specialist firearms unit, who shot Mr de Menezes.

C2 and C12 on the escalator at Stockwell
Escalator: Officers filmed on CCTV

The pair, codenamed Charlie 2 and Charlie 12 gave their evidence from behind a screen, but could be seen by members of the family.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided that neither should face trial and the coroner told the jury that he would not allow them to consider a verdict of unlawful killing.

In his evidence, the first man to shoot, C12, said he approached the Tube with no preconceptions about how to act. But he said the actions of a surveillance officer who pointed out Mr de Menezes, reinforced in his mind the situation he faced. The decision to fire came after the subject moved towards the police officer's gun, he said.

"I formed the opinion that he is going to detonate, he is going to kill us, and I have to act now to stop this from happening," C12 told the jury. "I had to use force as soon as possible. This was an identified suicide bomber to me."


The officers who were responsible for tailing the suspect gave evidence.

They included "Frank", the officer who was relieving himself when Mr de Menezes left his home, and James, another surveillance officer involved in communications over whether or not the target was the suspected bomber.

Ken and Ivor on the escalator
Ken and Ivor, two surveillance officers

He said he could not provide a "percentage certainty" of the man's identity - but somehow the operation room came to believe that the man being followed was the suspect.

Lawrence, another team member, told the inquest he had altered his own debriefing log to say that he had not positively identified the subject as the bomber, even though his original sentence read that he had. He said it had been a simple error and he was not part of a "cover-up".

Another man to give evidence was Ivor, the officer who boarded the train with Mr de Menezes and identified him to C2 and C12 as they approached.

In his evidence, he said he had pinned Mr de Menezes' arms as he stood up and moved towards the armed officers.

Print Sponsor

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific