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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Police shooting inquest challenge
Derek Bennett
Derek Bennett was shot four times
The family of a man shot dead by police while holding a gun-shaped lighter have won the right to challenge a inquest that found he had been lawfully killed.

Derek Bennett, 29, was hit four times by two marksmen in Brixton, south London, on 16 July 2001. The officers said they thought the gun was real.

Mr Bennett's relatives said they were "sickened" by the verdict.

The family has been granted permission to apply for a judicial review on the grounds the inquest was fatally flawed.

We said from the outset we were unhappy that the coroner did not leave a verdict of unlawful killing to the jury
Daniel Bennett

Sitting at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Sullivan said a decision must be taken "after a court has heard full argument, rather than stopping it in its tracks at this point".

Mr Bennett's brother Daniel welcomed the decision but was sceptical about the eventual outcome.

He said: "We said from the outset we were unhappy that the coroner did not leave a verdict of unlawful killing to the jury.

"But we have seen in other police shooting cases how families win a new inquest here and then get the verdict they want - and then it comes back up to the High Court and gets overturned."

Psychiatric patient

Coroner Selena Lynch directed the jury to return the lawful killing verdict at the inquest in December 2004.

Mr Bennett died after armed officers opened fire when he grabbed John Knightly, 53, and held the "weapon" to his head.

The inquest heard Mr Knightly wriggled free at which point Mr Bennett turned the novelty lighter on police and tried to take cover behind a pillar as they fired six shots at him.

Doctors had recommended the former psychiatric patient be committed to a mental hospital under the Mental Health Act just a week earlier.


SEE ALSO:
Gun lighter man lawfully killed
15 Dec 04 |  London
Man said lighter was 'real gun'
12 Nov 04 |  London
Shooting police not charged
25 Mar 03 |  England


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