Azelle Rodney mother accuses police of executing son


Click to follow
The Independent Online

The mother of Azelle Rodney today accused police of “executing” her son, as lawyers for the officer who shot him six times said he felt he had “no alternative” but to open fire.

Susan Alexander told the inquiry into her son's death that armed police had "no good reason" to gun down the 24-year-old.

Mr Rodney was killed after the VW Golf in which he was travelling was stopped by unmarked police cars on April 30, 2005 in Edgware, north London.

They believed he and the two men in the car with him - Wesley Lovell and Frank Graham - were on their way to commit an armed heist on a gang of drug dealers.

The officer who killed Mr Rodney, known only as E7, opened fire within a second of pulling up beside the Golf.

Today Samantha Leek QC, for E7, told the inquiry: "He believed that Mr Rodney had picked up and was preparing to shoot a fully automatic weapon, and he fired at Mr Rodney until he believed that there was no longer a threat. He fully understands that Mr Rodney's family hold him responsible for Mr Rodney's death.

"He believed that he had no alternative but to fire."

Ms Alexander broke down as she read a witness statement to the court room, which is in the High Court Principal Registry of the Family Division, and her barrister had to take over.

She said: "I can only say that I'm still shocked that guns were found by police in the car that Azelle was travelling in when he was killed. I do not believe from what I have heard that police had good reason to shoot at him, let alone kill him.

"Since April 30, 2005 my life has been in turmoil."

The mother of three said Graham and Lovell had walked away unharmed that day, while her son, whose girlfriend was eight months pregnant, was killed.

"To state the obvious they were at least able to walk away alive on April 30, and have long since served their prison sentences, while it seems to be that Azelle was executed that day and as a result never got to see his baby daughter."

An inquiry is being held in to Mr Rodney's death because of secret areas of evidence that would have to be withheld from a coroner.

Ms Alexander said she is concerned the secrecy will mean that some evidence will be suppressed.

"Some evidence continues to be shrouded in secrecy. I remain worried that I'm being prevented and will be prevented from seeing every single piece of relevant evidence. I can't help feeling that some evidence will be suppressed."

Her barrister Leslie Thomas said that his family were under no illusion that Mr Rodney was "an angel".

"We do not seek to justify what Azelle was doing on the day he died. Nor do we seek to portray him as an angel. But he was entitled to be apprehended, if there was evidence he was entitled to be charged.

"He was entitled to be brought before a court of law to face a trial before a jury of his peers and if convicted, rightly and properly punished with the deprivation of his liberty.

"The fact that he was strongly suspected of being involved in criminal wrongdoing does not justify him or anyone else being summarily killed."

He said that Ms Alexander could not grieve properly until the truth was known about why her son was killed.

The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow.