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Last Updated: Friday, 29 October, 2004, 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK
Unlawful killing police suspended
Harry Stanley
Harry Stanley was returning from the pub when he was shot
Two officers have been suspended after an inquest jury returned an unlawful killing verdict in the case of an unarmed man shot dead by police.

Harry Stanley, 46, from Hackney, east London, was shot in the head and the hand by the Met officers in 1999.

Mr Stanley was carrying a chair leg in a plastic bag which the two officers thought was a sawn-off shot gun.

Speaking after the inquest at St Pancras Coroners' Court on Friday, his widow Irene said: "We've got justice".

The Stanley family won a ruling in the High Court in April this year to have an open verdict from his first inquest quashed.

We had the first inquest and it was one-sided for the Metropolitan police, but now we've got a fair inquest with a new coroner and we've got justice
Irene Stanley

Ms Stanley told the BBC: "It has been a long hard struggle for Harry's family and my family.

"We can't bring Harry back but we've got an unlawful killing verdict.

"We had the first inquest and it was one-sided for the Metropolitan Police, but now we've got a fair inquest with a new coroner and we've got justice."

In a statement issued just after the inquest the Met Police said "It must be remembered that the officers were called upon to make a split-second decision while confronting what they believed to be an imminent threat to their lives.

"They did not have the benefit of hindsight."

Irene Stanley
Irene Stanley said it had been a "long hard struggle" for the family

However, at 1830 BST on Friday, the Met retracted this statement after consultation with solicitors representing Mrs Stanley who said it contradicted the verdict of the jury, and apologised for any offence and distress.

In a revised statement the Met said the death of Mr Stanley, originally from Scotland, was regrettable and offered sympathy to his family.

"In the light of the verdict the Met will suspend the two officers involved from duty.

"Both will continue to be offered appropriate welfare support."

Following the verdict the IPCC put forward a recommendation, backed by the coroner Dr Andrew Reid, that research is commissioned to try to prevent similar deaths.

The Crown Prosecution Service looked at the case in 2001 and concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against the police officers involved in the death of Mr Stanley.

But a CPS spokeswoman confirmed on Friday that the case would be reviewed.

The inquest had heard how Mr Stanley, a painter and decorator, was shot as he left a pub in Hackney on his way home.

The Scottish father-of-three had been carrying a table leg, which had just been repaired by his brother, in a plastic bag.

Cancer operation

Two police marksmen had mistakenly been informed that Mr Stanley had a sawn-off shotgun.

One of the two officers, Pc Kevin Fagan, told the jury he was convinced he was "looking down the barrel of a shotgun".

He added he fired fractionally before his colleague Insp Neil Sharman, hitting Mr Stanley on the hand.

Insp Sharman told the court he fired one round when he thought Pc Fagan was about to be shot.

He said he aimed at Mr Stanley's body but missed and shot him in the head.

During the inquest it emerged Mr Stanley was recovering from an operation as part of his treatment for colon cancer when he died.

Ms Stanley told the jury: "He couldn't do his shoelaces, he couldn't bend down, his stomach was still tender because of the wound and the stitches."




FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
TelegraphUnlawful killing verdict on man shot by police - 35 hrs ago
Independent Police marksmen may face charges for unlawful killing - 36 hrs ago
Daily Star Charges May Follow Unlawful Killing - 36 hrs ago
Guardian Unlimited Policemen may face charges after unlawful killing verdict - 37 hrs ago
Daily Mail Charges may follow unlawful killing - 43 hrs ago
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