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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Man police shot 'lawfully killed'
Keith Larkins
Mr Larkins had been treated for a nervous breakdown
A mentally ill man who police shot believing he was a suspected terrorist was killed lawfully, an inquest jury has found.

Keith Larkins, 33, of Feltham, south-west London, was shot by officers after his car was seen circling Heathrow airport in June 2003.

West London Coroner's Court was told he had fired a replica pistol at police.

Delivering its verdict the jury criticised "systematic shortfalls" in Mr Larkins' mental health care.

The 11-person jury, which returned a majority verdict of nine to two, said the dead man may have been misdiagnosed and a lack of correct treatment "may have contributed to his behaviour".

This incident, and its tragic outcome, only serves to highlight the dangers realistic replica firearms present
Commander Phil Gormley
Scotland Yard's head of aviation and security

The former security guard had been due to see a psychiatrist for an assessment the day he died, but his mother told the court he disappeared.

He was then involved in a police chase around the airport and shot at officers after being stopped by a dog handler on routine patrol.

The inquest heard Mr Larkins, who had been treated for a nervous breakdown, also attempted to steal a police firearms vehicle.

But his family disputed claims he had fired his replica Glock pistol, saying he had only been driving on quiet country lanes away from the west London airport site.

Pc Matthew Stoakes and Pc Steven Clark, who shot Mr Larkins, are currently suspended from firearms duty pending an inquiry, but are still working for the police.

Commander Phil Gormley, Scotland Yard's head of aviation and security said after the verdict: "These officers, like all their armed colleagues, display immense courage and use trained judgement to protect both the public and their unarmed colleagues.

"This incident, and its tragic outcome, only serves to highlight the dangers realistic replica firearms present."




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