Page last updated at 18:22 GMT, Monday, 3 November 2008

Menezes police 'out of control'

Ann Dunwoodie
Anna Dunwoodie was near Jean Charles de Menezes when he died

A commuter who was sitting near Jean Charles de Menezes on a Tube train has told his inquest that police gave no warning before killing him.

Anna Dunwoodie said she believed officers were "out of control" and gave off a "sense of panic" before shooting.

She claimed that the innocent 27-year-old appeared calm as a gun was held to his head.

Mr de Menezes was killed in 2005 in south London by police who mistook him for a failed 21 July suicide bomber.

Ms Dunwoodie was sitting two or three seats to the left of Mr de Menezes when he boarded the train at Stockwell Tube Station, south London on 22 July 2005.

She told the inquest that, at the time, she thought the firearms officers pursuing Mr de Menezes were members of a gang.

I guess he had a gun pressed to his head and there was not anything he could do about it
Anna Dunwoodie

He was shot seven times in the head at close range after being mistaken for failed bomber Hussain Osman.

Ms Dunwoodie, who was travelling from Tooting Bec into central London, said she did not hear officers shout any warning at the electrician.

"I would like to say that on whether I heard anything from police officers, I am very, very clear. I had absolutely no idea who they were and had they shouted I would have latched on to that," she said.

She described the scene on the train as one of panic:

"I think it was the man, who I now know to be a surveillance officer, (who) really seemed to be frightened or hyped up and when he was calling the other men they seemed... you know, when people are full of adrenaline and they move quickly and their movements are a bit jerky.

"I felt they were a bit out of control, that's what it felt like."

'Shaken up'

Discussing the moments before Mr de Menezes' death, Ms Dunwoodie said he had closed his eyes and looked "almost calm".

"I guess he had a gun pressed to his head and there was not anything he could do about it", she said.

She told the jury at the Oval cricket ground that the police then shouted among themselves before the first shots "came very suddenly".

She said she saw "flashes" and heard a quiet "popping noise".

"My first thoughts were that it was someone firing a stun gun.

"There was a break and it was my memory that there were more shots."

She then explained how she was still "shaken up" when giving interviews to the police afterwards.

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

She said: "I was really under pressure to look at a memory that was very recent and frightening."

A surveillance officer, using the code name Ivor, had previously told the inquest that Mr de Menezes had stood up and walked towards him as police challenged him.

But Ms Dunwoodie, who had been reading a book on the train, said she did not recall that happening.

She said she felt "most frightened" of Ivor - who had also sat near her on the train.

She said: "He did make me feel very nervous. My attention was drawn to him. He seemed to have stuff in his bag and there seemed to be a metallic noise."

'Something illegal'

She said Ivor then ran toward the door opposite herself and she later heard him shouting "there he is" while pointing at Mr de Menezes.

Ms Dunwoodie added that she thought Ivor - whom it had previously emerged, had also been mistaken by police as their suspect - was her main threat.

There was not one mention of armed police
Mark Whitby

After the shooting she told how she thought "something illegal" had happened and said her first impulse was to call the police to let them know.

The Brazilian's mother, Maria Otone de Menezes, was seen to leave the inquest in tears after hearing Ms Dunwoodie's evidence. She was comforted by Justice4Jean campaigners.

Three witnesses who sat near the carriage doors where firearms officers opened fire also said they had no recollection of any warnings from armed police.

Robert Preston said he only heard police shouting "get down, get down".

"It was quite a general statement and it could have applied to me," he said.

Allegations refuted

Mark Whitby, a fellow passenger, added that that was all he heard too.

He said: "There was not one mention of armed police."

Simon Dixon, another passenger in the same carriage, said he instantly recognised the officers as police because of the types of gun they were carrying but did not hear them call out any warning before shooting.

But this was denied by two firearms officers, referred to as D9 and C11, who said they had definitely heard a shouted warning.

Speaking behind a screen, D9 said: "I could hear people shouting 'armed police', then as I approached I heard more calls of 'armed police'."

He then gave a detailed description of how he saw blood pouring from the right side of Mr de Menezes's head.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, the senior Scotland Yard officer in charge of the operation, was also at the hearing.

The inquest was adjourned until Tuesday.

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


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific