Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Monday, 13 October 2008 17:09 UK

Menezes officer changed evidence

Jean Charles de Menezes
Mr de Menezes was shot seven times by firearms officers

An investigation has begun after an officer admitted changing evidence during the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

The Special Branch officer, named as Owen, said he deleted a line from computer notes which quoted Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it would investigate.

Brazilian Mr de Menezes, 27, was killed by police who mistook him for one of the failed 21 July 2005 bombers.

Owen, a surveillance officer, told the inquest the deleted line claimed Ms Dick had initially said the electrician could "run onto Tube as not carrying anything".

But on Monday he said: "On reflection, I looked at that and thought I cannot actually say that."

'False impression'

Owen said he had spoken about the amendments he made to his notes to a Metropolitan Police solicitor the day after he submitted his evidence, on 8 October this year.

He told the court he had removed the line because he believed it was "wrong and gave a totally false impression."

Asked at the inquest whether management had requested the changes be made, he replied: "No. I am sure of that, sir."

An Independent Police Complaints Commission spokesman confirmed it was launching an inquiry.

"This matter will be subject to an independent investigation and we are not in a position to comment further at this stage," he said.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she wanted the IPCC to report "as quickly as possible".

"This is a very serious matter which clearly must be investigated and the facts established," she said.

"Once the facts are established we will decide, in consultation with the Metropolitan Police Authority, what further action may be necessary," she added.

Mr de Menezes was shot as he boarded a train at Stockwell Tube station in south London when firearms officers mistook him for Hussain Osman a day after the would-be bomber and three other men had failed in their attacks on the capital's transport network.

'No photo talk'

Earlier at the inquest, a senior detective said he could not "recall" whether images of the real suspect, Osman, were discussed at a dawn briefing before Mr de Menezes' death.

Det Insp Merrick Rose said surveillance of the 21 July would-be attackers on a Lake District trip the previous year was talked about at the meeting. But he could not remember if images of Osman were mentioned.

"I cannot recall anything that was said about photographs, no," he said.

Images of Osman on the Cumbria trip were shown to the inquest jury at London's Oval cricket ground for the first time on Friday.

But the court was told these images, from what was known as Operation Ragstone, were not examined after Osman embarked on the failed bomb attack.

Instead, the inquest heard, officers at the briefing in the run-up to Mr de Menezes' death were shown a photograph of the suspect taken from a gym card and CCTV images.

Mr Rose went on to say that although firearms officers were not given copies of the images, there had been a "copy of the photographs available for them during the course of the briefing".

The jury is considering whether or not Mr de Menezes was unlawfully killed.

The inquest, due to last 12 weeks, was adjourned until Tuesday.

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