Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 18:07 UK

Police lawfully killed armed man

Police remove the body of Philip Marsden
Mr Marsden had been carrying an imitation gun, the inquest heard

An inquest into the death of a man shot by a police firearms officer has returned a verdict of lawful killing.

Philip Marsden, 47, was killed by a single shot in Meir, Stoke-on-Trent, in December 2005, after being seen carrying a sword, the inquest heard.

A police watchdog ruled out criminal charges. Staffordshire Police said it "very much" regretted the death.

In a statement, the family said they accepted police had little alternative but have questioned staffing levels.

Mr Marsden posed a significant danger, both to members of the public and to our officers
Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Lee

The family said they were concerned that certain potentially-critical information was not passed onto the officers at the scene.

Mr Marsden had called police to report nuisance behaviour, the inquest at Hanley Town Hall heard.

Officers attended and then left the scene, but returned when a neighbour rang to report another disturbance.

This time officers were approached by Mr Marsden, who was carrying a sword and what turned out to be an imitation gun. He was said to have been drunk and depressed.

Armed officers were called, and despite repeated warnings and some initial compliance, Mr Marsden then adopted a firing stance.

'Profound impact'

In a statement, Staffordshire's deputy chief constable Adrian Lee said the incident had had a "profound impact" on all of those involved.

He said the Independent Police Complaints Commission had produced a detailed report including a number of recommendations "which the force implemented promptly and in full".

"As the inquest heard, Mr Marsden posed a significant danger, both to members of the public and to our officers," he said.

"We are pleased that the jury found the officers acted lawfully and reasonably."

The family said they thought a more subtle approach on the night might have succeeded instead of a series of challenges that led up to Mr Marsden's death.

But they said they were content that a full and detailed inquiry had taken place and thanked the coroner accordingly.

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