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EDITIONS
 Saturday, 11 January, 2003, 16:15 GMT
Siege gunman killed himself
Eli Hall
Eli Hall died in the siege
The gunman at the centre of a 15-day siege in London killed himself with a bullet to the head, but was also wounded by police, a post-mortem examination has shown.

Eli Hall, had a wound from a police bullet in his mouth, but it was not life-threatening, according to a joint statement from the Metropolitan Police and the Police Complaints Authority.

The second wound, which is said to be the cause of death, is believed to have been self-inflicted.

The siege began on Boxing Day after Mr Hall fired at police when they tried to inspect his Toyota Celica car, which had been linked to a shooting incident.

My nephew, Eli Hall, could not see any future ahead of him, therefore he took the only way that he knew - it is a waste of a young life

Eli Hall's aunt

On Thursday, Mr Hall, 32, used petrol to set fire to the building after vowing he would never be taken alive and his charred body was removed on Friday.

Mr Hall's aunt, who had been brought in by police to help end the siege, said: "Words can not express the grief that is felt at this present time. This is tragedy beyond belief.

"My nephew, Eli Hall, could not see any future ahead of him - therefore he took the only way that he knew. It is a waste of a young life.

"I would like to thank the police for their excellent handling of the situation. It is sad that this ended so tragically."

1m cost

Police have admitted their decision to play a waiting game and not storm the building had been partially dictated by the Human Rights Act.

Commander Bob Quick said: "The police have an overriding duty to protect life, including the lives of the public and emergency services personnel.

"The Criminal Law Act 1967 and the Human Rights Act 2000 govern accountability of the police in these situations."

He added that the cost of deploying the armed officers for 15 days could be between 750,000 and 1m.

Scene outside siege flat after fire broke out
The property was badly damaged by a large fire

The officer also revealed that Mr Hall, whom neighbours claimed had mental problems, had warned that he would not be taken alive.

The siege ended after a large fire spread through much of the building following an exchange of gunshots.

A 28-year-old man, believed to be Mr Hall's next-door neighbour, had been held hostage at gunpoint for 11 days before escaping on Sunday afternoon.

The siege lasted just two days less than one in 1968, where farmer John James was holed up for 17 days with a rusty shotgun in a derelict cottage near Weston-under-Redcastle, Shropshire.

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  The BBC's John Sudworth
"He had vowed never to be taken alive"

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10 Jan 03 | England
11 Jan 03 | England
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