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Wednesday, 19 June, 2002, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Inspector shot man 'to save colleague'
An artist's impression of the scene at the inquest
Mr Sharman (left) is questioned by the family's lawyer
A police officer, who shot dead a man holding a table leg believed it was a gun about to be used on his colleague, an inquest has heard.

Inspector Neil Sharman said he shouted "armed police" and "drop the gun" at Harry Stanley as he followed him down a London street.

He told St Pancras Coroner's Court that he shot Mr Stanley, 46, after the father-of-three turned and pointed an object in a tightly-wrapped blue plastic bag.

Mr Stanley, 46, died on 22 September 1999 as he returned home in Warneford Street, Hackney, east London.

Harry Stanley
Mr Stanley was unarmed when he was shot

Police said they had earlier received reports of an "Irishman" leaving a pub in Hackney, east London, with a sawn-off shotgun in a blue plastic bag.

Inspector Sharman and his colleague, PC Kevin Fagan, both specialist Metropolitan Police firearms officers, had responded to the emergency call.

They spotted Scottish-born Mr Stanley and stopped their car to follow him on foot.

Inspector Sharman said: "I saw the male pull the bag into his hip with his right hand and then quickly bring up his left hand to grasp the front of the bag.

'Fabricated story'

Inspector Sharman said he recognised the manoeuvre as a "classic preparation to firing a sawn-off shotgun from the hip".

"This weapon was now pointing directly at my colleague, PC Fagan, who I believe was about to be shot at very close range.

"There was no other way of preventing PC Fagan being shot.

"I fired at the suspect's central body mass.

"I saw the male begin to fall backwards and he dropped the blue bag."

But he was accused by Tim Owen, lawyer for the family, of fabricating this later in order to justify the shooting.

The inquest continues.


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19 Jun 02 | England
17 Jun 02 | England
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