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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK
No charges for gun death officers
Harry Stanley
Mr Stanley was carrying a table leg in a plastic bag
Two policemen who shot a man in London carrying a table leg they mistook for a sawn-off shotgun will not be charged over his death.

Police arrested Metropolitan officers Insp Neil Sharman and Pc Kevin Fagan in June in connection with the shooting of Harry Stanley, 46, in Hackney, in 1999.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was insufficient evidence to rebut the men's self-defence claims.

The family of Mr Stanley, originally from Scotland, say they are devastated.

His wife Irene said: "What happened today was an injustice.

Sep 1999: Mr Stanley shot dead
June 2002: Inquest returns open verdict
April 2003: High Court orders new inquest
Oct 2004: Inquest returns unlawful killing verdict
May 2005: High Court quashes second inquest verdict
June 2005: Two officers arrested
October 2005: CPS decides to take no action against the officers

"I am devastated by it, though I half expected it. I am going to keep fighting but can't say more until I receive legal advice."

Her lawyers said the decision undermined public confidence in the police.

Mr Stanley was carrying a blue plastic bag containing a coffee table leg which had just been repaired when the officers opened fire as he walked home from the Alexandra pub.

Insp Sharman shot the father-of-three in the head, killing him instantly, while Pc Fagan also opened fire.

A second inquest in October 2004 returned a verdict of unlawful killing and the two officers were suspended from duty.

This led to an unofficial strike by members of SO19, the force's firearms unit.

The inquest verdict was quashed by the High Court in May this year but an investigation by Surrey Police was launched resulting in the arrests.

These officers were asked to make an instant life and death decision whilst carrying out the armed policing duties for which they had volunteered
Assistant Commissioner Steve House

The two officers were questioned on suspicion of murder, manslaughter, gross negligence and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after new forensic evidence emerged.

But in a statement, the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The CPS has concluded that the prosecution evidence is insufficient to rebut the officers' assertion that they were acting in self defence."

The Metropolitan Police's Assistant Commissioner Steve House said: "The legal processes examining this tragic incident has been unnecessarily protracted and the time this has taken can only have increased the strain for all involved.

"These officers were asked to make an instant life and death decision whilst carrying out the armed policing duties for which they had volunteered."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is due to make its ruling by the end of the year.

How the two police officers came to be arrested


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