Mark Duggan inquest: Final moments of man who sparked London riots revealed

Inquest into killing of 29-year-old reveals frantic phone call to his brother just before he was shot dead by police

Mark Duggan, whose death two years ago sparked the UK’s worst riots in modern history, made a frantic three-minute phone call to his brother Marlon moments before he was fatally shot by an armed officer.

Click image above to enlarge graphic

Details of the 29-year-old father of four’s final movements on 4 August 2011 were described in court today on the second day of the inquest into his death.

Mr Duggan was travelling in the back of a minicab before three police cars containing nine officers forced it to pull over. A fourth vehicle, the control car containing four senior officers, had pulled up a few yards behind on the road in Tottenham, north London, as Mr Duggan emerged from the taxi.

Ashley Underwood QC, representing the coroner Keith Cutler, told the jury of eight women and three women that one of the armed officers, known in court as V53, shot Mr Duggan twice with his short rifle – once in the bicep and another in the chest, severing his aorta. This was the fatal shot.

“He would have died within 10 heartbeats,” Mr Underwood said. The officer claimed he was acting in self-defence because he thought Mr Duggan was holding a gun. The first shot failed to incapacitate Mr Duggan, the officer claimed, so he fired a second time. A police officer known as W42 was standing behind Mr Duggan and was hit as one of the bullets passed through Mr Duggan, becoming lodged in the officer’s radio. 

As he set out the background to the case today, Mr Underwood told the jury that of the six main issues surrounding Mr Duggan’s death, the two most controversial concerned whether Mr Duggan was in possession of a gun when he got out of the cab and whether the two shots fired by officer V53 were “absolutely necessary”.

Mr Underwood said armed officers used “shock and awe tactics” when approaching suspects they believed were armed. He added: “Mr Duggan wasn’t shocked into submission, he got out of the minicab and he ran. You will hear from V53 that he was running with a gun in his hand and he started to bring the gun into the aim.”

The jury was shown pictures of the bloodstained jacket with bullet holes Mr Duggan had been wearing when he died, as well as CCTV from a passing bus and maps of the scene. Mr Underwood explained why one of the bullets had entered lower down in the jacket but emerged much higher up, demonstrating to the jury by bringing his hand up from his waist to chest height “akin to Mr Duggan bringing his arm up and bunching the lower part of his jacket so it aligned with his chest,” he said.

“It is the officer’s case that Mr Duggan raised his right hand and was believed to have a gun.”

After Mr Duggan was shot, the court heard that officer V53 and his colleague, officer W70, expected to find the gun near the body – but instead a gun wrapped in a black sock was later found “between 10 and 20ft” away from Mr Duggan’s body, over railings and on a patch of grass.

Mr Underwood said there were several options as to how the gun was found there, among them that Mr Duggan threw it there himself or that a paramedic or police officer administering first aid to Mr Duggan kicked it out of the way – a suggestion that prompted snorts of derision from Mr Duggan’s family in the public gallery. Several relatives wore black T-shirts to the hearing bearing Mr Duggan’s image with the message “time for truth and justice”.

Mr Underwood had earlier described the three police cars that surrounded Mr Duggan’s taxi contained officers from three Met divisions: SCD11, the specialist surveillance unit, C019, the specialist firearms unit, and Trident, the black-on-black knife and gun crime unit.

The shooting of Mark Duggan sparked the Tottenham riots (Rex) The shooting of Mark Duggan sparked the Tottenham riots (Rex)  

Police believed Mr Duggan was a member of the Tottenham Man Dem gang and the Met had received “specific intelligence relating to Mark Duggan” from the Serious Organised Crime Agency between 29 July and 4 August that he was “believed to be intent on attacking a member of another gang,” Mr Underwood said.

On 3 August, police believed Mr Duggan was about to collect a gun but SCD11 officers traced him to a family barbecue. The three teams agreed to meet at a police base in Wood Green at 6pm on 4 August to discuss the case further. “That didn’t work out,” Mr Underwood said, “because police received intelligence at 5.20pm that Mark Duggan was on his way to Leyton to pick up a gun”.

Trident officers got to the house first and followed the minicab containing Mr Duggan. The court was told that it would hear evidence from the taxi driver stating Mr Duggan allegedly picked up a gun, contained within a shoe box, from Kevin Hutchinson Foster, who has since been jailed for supplying him with the weapon, and that Mr Duggan was on his way to the Broadwater Farm estate.

Mr Underwood described how a three-minute call between Mr Duggan and his brother ended just six seconds before the GPS in the cab stopped, indicating it had pulled over. Mr Duggan also sent a BBM message saying: “Watch out for  a green VW van, it's Trident they just jammed me.”

” The officers pounced around 6.12pm.

Mr Underwood said “strenuous efforts” were made to save Mr Duggan but he was pronounced dead at the scene at 6.41pm.

The jury was also told the case has been complicated by an anonymous note sent last year to a number of people including Mr Duggan’s family and the Met Police Commissioner, claiming that a police informant had told his handler that he could persuade Mr Duggan to pick up the gun, allowing officers to arrest him.

Mr Underwood said: “The letter goes on to say that [the arrest] was bound to lead to Mr Duggan being shot dead because the letter suggests that anything less than that would have led to the informant being exposed.”

Police have said that there is no evidence to back those claims.

The hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice, expected to last at least two months, resumes on Thursday.

The dead man’s gang: Tottenham Man Dem

Tottenham Man Dem was formed on the Broadwater Farm estate before the 1985 riots, which erupted when Cynthia Jarrett died during a police search of her home.

TMD was involved in the drugs trade and fought for control of their turf with other gangs, including NPK and the Hackney boys. One of its earliest members, Mark Lambie, was suspected of killing PC Keith Blakelock during the riots but was cleared. Lambie, who was 14 at the time, allied TMD with Jamaican Yardie gangs and was at one time Operation Trident’s most wanted man. He was jailed in 2002 after he and an accomplice kidnapped two men and tortured them.

Lambie was seen as untouchable, and police said he was considered “the devil” who had magical powers bestowed on him that meant he could not be hurt. In 1996 Lambie was shot outside a Wembley wine bar but survived, and a year later walked away from another gun attack.

The term Man Dem originates in the Caribbean, and refers to a group of friends.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Morrissey pictured in 2013
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices