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Friday, 10 January, 2003, 17:31 GMT
Who was the Hackney gunman?
Police patrolling outside the Hackney street involved in the siege
Eli Hall was wanted for two other shootings
The man who died after holding police at bay for 15 days at a flat in Hackney, east London, had spent much of his life in prison.

Jamaican Eli Hall, 32, was wanted by police for a series of offences.

Throughout the 1990s, he served half a dozen prison sentences for offences including violence, drugs and possessing guns and other weapons.

His violent reputation was emphasised by officers as they defended their patient approach in handling the siege.

Eli Hall
Hall's reputation concerned police
Commander Bob Quick said: ""I cannot underline how difficult and volatile he can be."

Officers knew the former nightclub doorman had no qualms about shooting at police, having linked him to two such incidents.

In August 2002 a man was said to have shot at - but missed - unarmed police who tried to arrest him in Soho.

Four months later, officers were shot at by two men they approached on a Hackney estate.

Erratic behaviour

One of the men, believed to be Hall, escaped.

The siege began on Boxing Day after officers spotted a car outside the flat being sought as part of the investigation into the Soho shooting.

Hall began shooting at them from his flat, and the siege began.

He told officers he was on a mission from the Rastafarian God, Jah, and that he had enough ammunition to "fill a bath".

Smoke seen pouring from the Hackney flat
Hall eventually died in a fire in the flat
He kept a man hostage for 11 days, threatening to kill him if police stormed the flat.

The captive finally slipped out of the bedsit while Hall was distracted.

Towards the end, with food running out, no electricity and little sleep, his behaviour became more erratic.

He began firing randomly at police in an effort to kill as many as possible.

Anonymity

In the latter stages of the negotiations he made it clear he was not prepared to be taken alive.

Intentionally or not, he was true to his word and after setting fire to his own furniture to keep warm, was overcome by the fumes or flames.

Police asked journalists not to name Hall during the siege in case negotiations were affected.

His half-brother Dean Hall, 25, was also known to police and jailed for a total of eight years at the Old Bailey in 2001, for his part in a heroin dealing gang known as the African Crew.


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