Met chief's aide 'knew of shooting mistake'

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The Independent Online

Sir Ian Blair faces new questions over when he knew that the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes as a suspected suicide bomber was a mistake.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has always maintained that he did not learn of the Brazilian electrician's innocence until 24 hours after he was shot dead at 10am on 22 July last year at Stockwell Tube station.

That afternoon Sir Ian said the shooting was "directly linked" to the hunt for the men behind four failed bombings a day earlier. It was not until the morning of 23 July that the commissioner announced that a terrible mistake had happened. His version of events, and whether police misled the public, is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The BBC yesterday reported that a "senior officer" within Sir Ian's office was told of fears six hours after the killing that the wrong person could have been targeted. That claim contradicts Sir Ian or leaves the possibility that he was not kept abreast of events.

Initially Scotland Yard "emphatically" denied the BBC claim. Last night it declined to comment.

Sir Ian will not be questioned until all the information about the killing has been gathered by the IPCC.