Susan Alexander: Met's secrecy over shooting that killed my son is an insult

Victim's mother has waited seven years for an inquiry into her son Azelle's death. Nina Lakhani meets her

The mother of an unarmed man shot dead by police officers seven years ago has slammed the inquiry into his death for allowing what she sees as unnecessary secrecy and a failure to hold the Metropolitan Police to account.

The criticism comes as the Met moves to prevent disclosure of helicopter footage of its surveillance operation against Azelle Rodney, 25, who was shot six times at point-blank range in west London in April 2005.

Susan Alexander, his mother, told The Independent in an exclusive interview that she has lost some confidence in the public inquiry, which started five weeks ago after years of political and legal wrangling about sensitive police material.

Mrs Alexander said that the current fight to see the helicopter footage is just one example of how the Met has made repeated efforts to have multiple pieces of evidence redacted or excluded from the inquiry during its opening weeks: "They said it was going to be fully open and transparent, but after all of this time to have more redacted information put in front us, well I find it quite an insult."

"This is my only opportunity to find out what happened," she added. "I've been gagged for years and I've played my part by keeping quiet. Now it's time to stop the secret hearings and for everything to be heard publicly."

A police helicopter filmed Mr Rodney and two other men in a car for several hours as they were suspected of planning an armed drug heist. The family only became aware of the footage six weeks ago. The chairman of the public inquiry, Sir Christopher Holland, last year decided this footage, which captured the hours before the "hard stop" and fatal shooting of Mr Rodney, was not useful and did not inform the family of its existence.

However, he ruled on Tuesday that it should be seen by lawyers acting for Mr Rodney's family. This would allow them to make submissions to the inquiry about why the material should be part of the evidence.

The inquiry has heard that police officers on the ground were in communication with those in the air during the operation. The family's lawyers believe it is essential to explore whether Mr Rodney's vehicle could have been intercepted at an earlier point in a safer location, rather than outside a busy pub on a high street.

The barrister acting for the Met said they would challenge the ruling as such sensitive and secret police material should not be seen. The Met are expected to make an application to the High Court to judicially review Sir Christopher's decision by 1pm today.

Mrs Alexander's solicitor, Daniel Machover, said: "We are not satisfied that everything that has been withheld historically or currently has been legitimately withheld; it is important now for any unnecessary secrecy to stop."

The inquiry team declined to comment. A Met spokesman said it was trying to stop the family lawyers from seeing the evidence for "genuine operational reasons" because of "the sensitive nature of the material".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness