Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Menezes police 'shouted warnings'

Jean Charles de Menezes
Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead at Stockwell Tube station

Firearms officers shouted warnings of "armed police" before shooting Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station, an inquest has heard.

One of the police marksmen in the carriage at the time told the hearing there had been more than one warning.

The officer - known as C5 - said he had been just feet away from the Brazilian as two of his colleagues opened fire.

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

He was shot seven times in the head by two marksmen - C2 and C12 - on 22 July 2005.

'Black cloud'

The issue over whether the officers had warned the Brazilian they were armed police has been hotly contested during the hearing at the Oval cricket ground, south London.

But C5, a member of Scotland Yard's elite CO19 Specialist Firearms Unit, said: "I heard shouts of 'armed police', I can't say when the shouts were made.

"There was more than one shout and I know there were shouts as they were forcing Mr de Menezes back."

I don't think there was anyone callous enough to think they were going to write themselves out of trouble
Firearms officer C5

Asked if he could recall if either C2 or C12 had shouted a warning, he said: "I really can't say even that."

"The likelihood was that it was from them," he added.

C5 was challenged by Michael Mansfield QC, for the de Menezes family, over whether the warning had actually been issued before the fatal shooting or had been added at a later date.

The firearms officer said: "I remember feeling very sad and there was a black cloud hanging over the team when this news was broken to us.

"I don't think there was anyone callous enough to think they were going to write themselves out of trouble."

Definite identification

C5, a firearms officer with more than 15 years experience, said his colleagues C2 and C12 were badly shaken after they had shot Mr de Menezes.

"I remember thinking thank goodness it wasn't me," he said.

I had confirmation over the radio that the suspect was definitely our man and that he was nervy and twitchy
Ralph, firearms officer leader

C2 and C12 have already given evidence. Yesterday, C12 apologised to the de Menezes family.

He told the inquest he had heard a surveillance officer positively identify Mr de Menezes as failed suicide bomber Hussain Osman.

This was backed up by one of the firearm team leaders, who gave evidence on Wednesday.

The officer, codenamed Ralph, said they had received confirmation Mr de Menezes was the right target before the Brazilian electrician reached the Tube station.

"I had confirmation over the radio the suspect was definitely our man and that he was nervy and twitchy," he said.

Mr Jonathan Hough, counsel to the inquest, said police surveillance officers did not accept using the term "definitely our man".

Ralph insisted that had been the exact phrase, saying the words had "stuck out".

Mr Hough asked if he had discussed the shooting with his team in the immediate aftermath.

"No, not at all," he said. "My concern at the time was purely for their welfare. I knew that would come later. I just wanted them to calm down."

Ralph also defended his colleagues C2 and C12, who he has worked with for more than 10 years.

"They are both married men, family men. They are professional, dedicated, committed," he said.

"And in my view 120% trustworthy and I would gladly work with them any day."

The inquest continues.

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