Page last updated at 21:13 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Kent robbery suspect 'lawfully killed'

Robert Haines
Robert Haines was shot at a building society in New Romney

An alleged armed robber who was shot dead by a police marksman was lawfully killed, an inquest jury has found.

Robert Haines, 41, a father-of-three, was killed by an undercover officer during a raid at a building society in New Romney, Kent, in October 2006.

A Metropolitan Police officer, referred to as Echo 19, told the inquest he fired three shots because he thought Mr Haines was trying to kill him.

Folkestone Magistrates' Court heard Mr Haines died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Mr Haines, who was believed to be running to a getaway car, was confronted by four armed officers in an alleyway following the raid at the Nationwide in New Romney on 31 October 2006.

I think he could have been wounded. To shoot him dead, I think is completely wrong
Burt Haines

He and three other men, who were later convicted of their part in the armed raid, had been under Metropolitan Police surveillance.

The inquest was shown footage of Mr Haines threatening a security guard with a gun, moments before he was shot.

Echo 19 told the inquest he heard Mr Haines fire a shotgun and thought he was trying to kill him or his colleagues so he rapidly fired two shots at his body.

Echo 19 said when he did not react he fired a third shot and Mr Haines fell to the ground.

IPCC commissioner Mike Franklin said: "The death of anyone is a tragedy that rightly leads loved ones to ask if anything could have been done that may have changed the outcome.

"Our thorough investigation set out to answer those questions and I hope it has helped Mr Haines's family and loved ones understand what happened and why.

"The officer was responding to a clear threat to his and others' life when he discharged his gun.

"The decision making and planning during the operation was also subjected to review and it was found to be professional throughout.

"We concluded any arrest before the robbery would more than likely not have gathered sufficient evidence to charge, and the decision to intervene as he entered the car park provided the best opportunity to safely control a dynamic and potentially dangerous situation."

'Completely wrong'

Following the inquest, Mr Haines' brother Burt said: "I don't agree with why he was there.

"I think he could have been wounded. To shoot him dead, I think is completely wrong."

In a statement the Metropolitan Police said it was pleased the inquest found the officers were not at fault.

Three men were given jail terms of between 10 and 17 years at Maidstone Crown Court in November 2007 for their part in the armed raid in which Mr Haines died.

The court was told at the time that Mr Haines, their alleged accomplice and ringleader, was shot three times after he stole £105,000 from a Securicor guard.

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