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Saturday, 23 May, 1998, 18:24 GMT 19:24 UK
Four police officers suspended after fatal shooting
Scene of the crime
Investigators want to know why Sussex police shot and killed and unarmed man
Four police officers have been suspended on full pay following the fatal shooting of an unarmed man.

A Sussex police superintendent and two inspectors have been suspended as part of a Police Complaints Authority inquiry into the death of James Ashley.

The fourth officer to be suspended is a police constable.

The police marksman who shot Mr Ashley at his home in St Leonards, Sussex, on January 15 during an armed drugs raid was suspended in February and a fifth officer will be suspended shortly, Sussex police said.

Mr Ashley, 39, was in bed with his girlfriend when armed police investigating an attempted murder and alleged drugs trafficking burst into his flat at 4am.

Ashley, who had a conviction for manslaughter, was shot dead.

Assistant Chief Constable of Kent Barbara Wilding is conducting the independent inquiry into the shooting.

A Sussex police spokesman said: "The suspensions follow detailed investigation of events preceding the armed police operation."

Chief Constable of Sussex Police Paul Whitehouse said: "This is, inevitably, a difficult time for the force and for the individuals concerned.

"My decision to suspend these officers now is a neutral act which should not be seen as prejudicing the independent inquiry in any way."

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