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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 14:54 GMT
Shooting police not charged
Derek Bennett
Police officers involved in the death of man who was shot and killed while carrying a gun-shaped cigarette lighter will not be prosecuted.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was "insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of a conviction" against anyone involved in the death of Derek Bennett in 2001.

The 29-year-old father-of-four had been challenged by two armed Metropolitan Police officers after reports of a man being seen with a gun in the area of the Marston House flats in Crowhurst Close, Brixton, south London.

He put the imitation firearm to the neck of a member of the public and was shot at six times after the passer-by broke free.

Mr Bennett was taken to King's College Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Northumbria Police carried out an investigation into the shooting for the Police Complaints Authority.

Considering Derek was shot in the back, how can the decision be not to prosecute?
Anthony Bennett, Derek Bennett's brother

In a statement the CPS said they had made their decision following "detailed and thorough" consideration of the evidence.

The CPS looked at the appearance of the cigarette lighter compared with firearms and whether the officers' response was relevant to the threat they believed they faced from Mr Bennett.

The number of shots fired and the position of the wounds were also considered.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Bennett had been hit four times - twice in the back of his body, once below his shoulder and once in his side.

'Shocked and disappointed'

Firearms experts said shots fired at a turning person may hit them in the back.

Anthony Bennett, brother of Derek, told BBC London News: "The family is shocked and extremely disappointed at the report.

"We did have confidence in the CPS and had hoped a prosecution would be forthcoming but all can say now is that the CPS are working hand in hand with the police - and they always find the police innocent.

"Considering Derek was shot in the back, how can the decision be not to prosecute?

"We are now considering whether to the pursue the case with our lawyer Imran Khan. It's a whitewash. "


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