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Friday, 7 December, 2001, 20:45 GMT
No action against fatal shooting officer
Pauline Ashley
James Ashley's family want a public inquiry
A senior police officer who was suspended over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man will not face disciplinary action.

Deputy Chief Constable of Sussex Police Mark Jordan, 43, was suspended on full pay for his role in the authorisation of an operation which led to the shooting of James Ashley in January 1999.

On Friday, after taking independent medical advice, the Sussex Police Authority decided to retire Mr Jordan, who was suspended in February 1999.

Officers had been told Mr Ashley, 41, was a violent drug dealer who may be armed.

Mr Jordan's retirement appears very convenient in the days before the new Chief Constable is to take over

Eileen Ashley, mother

He was shot at his flat in St Leonards, East Sussex, while naked in bed with his girlfriend, Caroline Courtland Smith.

No guns or drugs were found at the flat.

Mr Jordan was among several senior officers who were suspended over the shooting, including the former Chief Constable Paul Whitehouse.

Mr Whitehouse was forced to resign over the affair by Home Secretary David Blunkett.

He joined Sussex Police in 1991 and had 25 years of experience as a police officer.

David Rogers, chairman of the Police Authority, said: "We have received unequivocal medical advice, including an independent opinion and taken into account the enormous pressure under which our officers are expected to work.

"We have also considered our own duty to work with the Chief Constable to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of Sussex Police and the rights of the individual concerned."

Mr Rogers said that, as Mr Jordan had been retired on the grounds of ill health, disciplinary proceedings against him would be dropped.

Mr Jordan's case was among the last to be dealt with following the shooting.

'Very disappointed'

Earlier this year three officers, Chris Siggs, Chris Burton and Kevin French, were cleared in court of misconduct in public office.

The Police Complaints Authority is yet to decide if they should face internal action.

Another officer, Chris Sherwood, was cleared of the unlawful killing of Mr Ashley at the Old Bailey.

But he has been told he will not face disciplinary proceedings.

Ken Jones will take over as the new Chief Constable on 7 January.

Mr Ashley's mother, Eileen, said: "I am very disappointed with the system.

"It has let us down yet again.

"Mr Jordan was suspended from day one of this investigation and now he is going to get away with it scot-free.

"I thought the new White Paper on the police was designed to change things like this.

"I suppose it takes time to implement.

"Mr Jordan's retirement appears very convenient in the days before the new Chief Constable is to take over.

"We are still hoping for a public inquiry."

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