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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 14:49 GMT
Man thought lighter was real gun
Derek Bennett
Derek Bennett was shot four times by police
A painter and decorator has told an inquest how a man held what he thought was a real gun to his head moments before police shot him.

Derek Bennett, 29, from Brixton, south London, was killed in July 2001 after officers thought his gun-shaped lighter was a real weapon.

John Knightly told an inquest Mr Bennett grabbed him around the neck as he was being chased by two officers.

Mr Knightly said he managed to break free and get "out of the line of fire.

He grabbed me around the neck with this gun thing to my head and the officers kept shouting at him to let me go.
John Knightly

"He came running towards me with two police officers chasing him," Mr Knightly told the inquest on Tuesday.

"There were two police officers six yards behind him. They were running after him.

"He grabbed me around the neck with this gun thing to my head and the officers kept shouting at him to let me go. I was convinced it was a real gun."

Novelty lighter

Mr Knightly said he struggled with Mr Bennett before breaking free and crouching in a nearby doorway.

He told the jury at the hearing in London that when he emerged from the doorway, Mr Bennett was lying on the floor.

Officers had believed the father-of-four was armed with a silver handgun, but he was later found to be holding a gun-shaped novelty lighter.

Forensic pathologist Dr Vesna Djurovic said when she examined Mr Bennett after his death he had four gunshot wounds in his back.

The hearing is expected to last about five weeks.

Man said lighter was 'real gun'
12 Nov 04 |  London

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