Man shot by police was 'manic depressive'

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The Independent Online

A man shot dead by police on the steps of a cathedral suffered from 'manic depression', his family said.

David Sycamore, 39, was described in a statement as a "loving and caring young man" whose intentions "were never to harm anybody".

He was fatally wounded by armed officers who were called to the cathedral in Guildford, Surrey, on Sunday following reports that a man with a gun was roaming the grounds.

A post mortem examination has concluded that Mr Sycamore died from a gunshot wound to the chest. Another bullet struck his right arm.

He was shot dead at around 3pm at Guildford Cathedral which was used in the filming of the 1976 classic horror film The Omen.

Paramedics were called and tried to resuscitate him but he died at the scene.

A weapon was later recovered nearby, police said.

Four firearms officers have been taken off operational firearms duties but have not been suspended.

The cathedral will be reopening today, when services will resume as normal.

The family of Mr Sycamore, who lived less than two miles away from the scene of the shooting, last night released a statement saying they were trying to come to terms with their loss.

It read: "In his short life David has suffered with manic depression which we believe he coped with, with extreme difficulty at times.

"David found solace in the grounds of the cathedral and said it brought him inner peace and closer to God.

"Unfortunately that day he did not find inner peace. His intentions were never to harm anybody. He would never do this. But sadly the only loss was David who will be sorely missed."

Pete Lee, a friend of Mr Sycamore, said: "David was a lovely man but he got depressed recently. He must have snapped."

Mr Lee told The Sun he had received a phone message from Mr Sycamore which said: "I'm going to kill myself", but had arrived at the scene too late to try to save his friend.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched an investigation into his killing.

Four independent investigators went to the cathedral on Sunday afternoon to begin inquiries.

They are examining footage from the police helicopter which was hovering overhead as the events unfolded.

Mike Franklin, IPCC Commissioner for the South East, said: "This is a terrible situation and my thoughts are with this man's family today.

"But I also think it is important to point out how difficult these situations are for everyone involved.

"It is in everybody's interest for us to find out exactly what happened as quickly as possible and I would therefore ask anybody who was in the grounds of Guilford Cathedral at around 3pm on Sunday to contact us."

Mr Franklin said police received a number of phone calls from members of the public before they stopped Mr Sycamore, who was carrying a handgun.

He said it was too early to comment on suggestions that the 39-year-old had committed "suicide by cop".

The cathedral was sealed off following the shooting and an advent carol service due to be held on Sunday had to be called off. It will be held next Sunday instead.

Yesterday morning, friends and family gathered at Mr Sycamore's home. His neighbours said they were shocked to hear what had happened.

One said: "You don't expect this sort of thing to happen round here, not on your doorstep. Nothing much happens in this area really.

"It's a shock to know the guy was shot just literally round the corner. And it's even worse when you find out he lived a few doors away.

"I can't imagine what those people must be going through."

Another neighbour, Louise Kegg, 20, who lived next door to Mr Sycamore but had never met her neighbour, said: "I'm really surprised. I don't think I have ever seen them. I'm really shocked."

A statement from Guildford Diocese said: "We can confirm that cathedral personnel were not involved or hurt and, while this was something that happened on cathedral premises, it was not in any way connected with the community there.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those caught up in any way in this tragedy, as well as with those living in the Cathedral Close and the adjoining estate."