Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 15:24 UK

Lincolnshire shooting 'down to police error'

Lincolnshire gun incident house
Cant was found dead in a nearby field soon after the shooting

Police made a "blatant error" by not seizing firearms certificates from a man who went on to shoot his step-daughter, the police watchdog has said.

Elvis Cant, 51, seriously injured Jade Brown by shooting her in the leg before apparently turning the gun on himself in a Lincolnshire village in July 2009.

The gamekeeper's home had been raided and guns seized the month before.

But he was able to replace his weapons because of the mistake, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said.

The IPCC advised that the four officers who failed to retrieve Cant's documents during the search should "receive management words of advice".

This basic error meant that Mr Cant was able to readily replace his seized firearms
IPCC Commissioner Amerdeep Somal

IPCC Commissioner Amerdeep Somal said: "Our investigation found that police made a blatant error in not making efforts to locate and seize Mr Cant's firearms certificate.

"It beggars belief that police officers, who attend an address to a report of a violent incident, seize several firearms then fail to seize a firearms certificate.

"This basic error meant that Mr Cant was able to readily replace his seized firearms which he then went on to use to shoot his ex-partner's daughter."

Cant, of Heydour, Lincolnshire, was arrested in June 2009 for allegedly assaulting and threatening to kill Jade.

He was not asked where he kept his certificates in police interviews.

He later retrieved them from his ex-partner's house before using them to buy the weapon used in the shootings, the report found.

'Defies logic'

An inquest in Lincoln earlier this year recorded an open verdict in the death of Cant.

Coroner Stuart Fisher criticised the police, saying it "defies logic" that Cant was left able to buy another gun.

The inquest heard Cant was "obsessed" with his ex-partner's 17-year-old daughter Jade, and tracked her down to the home of her natural father, Nigel Brown, at Potterhanworth near Lincoln.

Following a fight between Cant and Mr Brown, in which Jade was shot, Cant was found dead in a nearby field with gunshot wounds to his neck and chest.

Lincolnshire Police said lessons had been learned.

The IPCC said that Lincolnshire Police's own policy is that relevant certificates should be seized along with firearms to prevent other guns being bought.

Lincolnshire Police's firearms licensing department should also have been told the weapons were seized, the investigation found.

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