Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 16:19 UK

Siege barrister shot five times

Mark Saunders
Mark Saunders was a family law barrister

A barrister was hit at least five times by police weapons during a shoot-out at his home, an inquest has heard.

Mark Saunders, 32, died after exchanging fire with officers in Chelsea, south-west London on Tuesday.

The inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court was told he was hit with more than one type of bullet.

A statement from his parents and sisters said they were "devastated at the tragic loss" of our "considerate and loving son and brother".

A report by pathologist Dr Nathaniel Carey said Mr Saunders, originally from Alderley Edge in Cheshire, did not suffer injuries from his own shotgun.

Severe damage

It added there was severe damage to Mr Saunders' brain, heart, liver and the main vein of the lower body.

"The external and internal gunshot-related damage is consistent with a minimum of five shots having hit the deceased," the report read.

Elizabeth Clarke. Copyright - Jon Enoch
Elizabeth Clarke identified her husband's body. Copyright Jon Enoch

"The nature of the wound and the projectile material recovered from the body suggests that more than one type of bullet has hit the deceased."

The inquest heard that Mr Saunders' wife, Elizabeth Clarke, identified his body at Westminster Public Mortuary on Thursday.

No members of Mr Saunders' family were present during the hearing.

But in statement, his parents Rodney and Rosemary Saunders said: "Everyone who knew and loved Mark appreciated his warmth, generosity and sheer energy for life.

"He was a very talented and sociable person whose enthusiasm and charm touched so many people. We will always remember him as our caring, considerate and loving son and brother.

"We are devastated at our tragic loss."

Regrettable death

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the death, confirmed there were three separate exchanges of fire with various armed police officers in Markham Square where he lived.

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Osborne told the hearing: "The death of any individual is regrettable.

"In such circumstances as these it makes it even more traumatic for those involved."

Officers were called at about 1650 BST after reports a gun was fired from a house towards another home.

Armed police fired back when they came under attack and the area nearby was sealed off as the siege began.

The incident was brought to an end at about 2200 BST when police stormed the house after four explosions, thought to be stun grenades, were heard.

The hearing, which lasted about 10 minutes, was adjourned for four months - the IPCC will then deliver a preliminary report.


Police broke through the front door to get into the house

Timeline: Chelsea shooting
08 May 08 |  London
Gunman shot dead in armed siege
06 May 08 |  London

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