Police marksman: Mark Duggan shooting that sparked London riots was 'an oh f*** moment'

 

The police marksman who shot Mark Duggan described the seconds before he opened fire as an “Oh f*** moment” today.

Duggan, 29, whose death sparked widespread riots last year, was "absolutely 100%" holding a handgun, Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London heard.

The officer, known as V53, told the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, who is accused of providing Duggan with a handgun minutes before he was killed on August 4 last year, that he fired two bullets at him.

He said: "The subject was holding a handgun. Mark Duggan was holding a handgun in his right hand.

"He was holding the pistol-grip of the gun. I could make out the shape, the outline, of the gun.

"I could make out the trigger-guard and the barrel. The size of the object he was carrying was of a similar size to the handgun I carry operationally.

"I was aware of previous police incidents in which criminals carry handguns in socks, and there is a black sock covering the firearm Mark Duggan is carrying in his right hand.

"It is side-on to his stomach.

"The only way I can describe this is it was, if I may, my lord, apologise to the jury, an 'oh f*** moment'. He's got a gun and he's going to use it on me."

The marksman, who gave evidence from behind a screen, has been a police officer for more than 15 years, an authorised firearms officer since 2003, and with CO19 since 2005.

He has been working with covert armed response vehicles since 2009, and said he has been involved in "hundreds" of police firearms operations, both spontaneous and planned.

He said: "August 4 will always be in my head. It's very clear, even now."

Hutchinson-Foster is on trial accused of passing the gun to Duggan that same day.

The 30-year-old, of no fixed abode, is charged with "selling or transferring a prohibited firearm" to Mr Duggan between July 28 and August 5 2011.

He denies passing the modified BBM Bruni Model 92 handgun to Mr Duggan, contrary to the Firearms Act 1968.

V53 told the court he was "approximately five metres" from Duggan when he opened fire.

"I saw him hold the gun in his right hand, side-on to his stomach, and begin to move the barrel away from his body," he said.

"I perceived this to be the beginning of him raising the gun into the aim position, whereby he would shoot at me or one of my colleagues.

"I had an honest-held belief that Mark Duggan was going to shoot me or one of my colleagues, so I brought my MP5 (sub-machine gun) up to the shooting position."

He explained he adopted a position known as the "rapidly acquired shoot procedure", in which a marksman quickly puts his gun to his shoulder to shoot at close-range.

"I fired a round which impacted on his right chest," he said.

"The gun was still in his hand as I fired the round which impacted on his right chest."

He told the court armed officers are trained to fire at the central body mass of a suspect to "shoot to stop", rather than "shooting to kill, or any of this stuff you see on TV".

The Metropolitan Police officer said he opened fire on Duggan after his team trailed the minicab he had been travelling in from Dalston to Leyton.

V53 told the court he shot him after Duggan quickly got out of the taxi, brandishing a gun.

After he shot Duggan the first time, the weapon was still in the suspect's hand, he said.

Duggan made "a flinching movement which has caused his body to move to the right", he told the court.

"He's still holding the gun, and the gun is pointing towards my direction.

"I'm thinking he's going to shoot me or one of my colleagues so I fire a second round of my MP5.

"This has hit him on his right bicep.

"Mark Duggan then fell to the floor. I then closed the suspect down."

The officer explained to the jury he satisfied himself that Duggan was no longer holding the weapon, and told them he had previously shouted "shots fired, shots fired".

He said he heard a fellow armed officer, known as W42, shout "I'm hit, I'm hit".

V53 said he was the only team medic on the scene, so he went to assist the officer before turning his attention to Duggan.

"At that point, since my colleague he's been hit, my primary concern is to go and look after my friend and colleague, firstly.

"I knew it was one of my rounds," he said.

He told the court the bullet "over-penetrated" Duggan, firing straight through his body, and hit his fellow officer.

After assessing him for around two minutes, he found W42 did not have any wounds, and the round had hit his radio.

V53 went back to administer first aid to Mark Duggan, and he gave CPR for 15 minutes before an ambulance arrived.

Another firearms officer, known as R68, then gave evidence to the trial.

He said Duggan was grinning as he got out of the minicab, moments before he was gunned down by the marksman, V53.

During cross-examination, the officer who drove the car which carried V53 to the scene of the incident, said from behind a screen: "He [Duggan] appeared to be smiling."

Stuart Denney QC, defending Hutchinson-Foster, said: "In a later statement I think you described that as a grin."

R68 replied: "Yes, my lord. I said the male's mouth was closed and I would describe that smile as a grin, my lord."

The officer earlier told prosecutor Edward Brown QC he saw Duggan reach into the left side of his coat with his right hand.

He said: "He appeared to be trying to pull an item from his waist band, my lord, and using his left hand to assist him.

"The male was moving away from the rear of the vehicle, and the position of his arms gave him, as I would describe, a lolloping run. An awkward, lolloping run.

"He had his right hand towards his waist band and his left hand was down, almost as if he was trying to secure the left hand side of his trousers, and to me it looked like he was trying to secure whatever he had in his waist band."

He then described how he saw V53 running towards Duggan, and heard his colleague fire two rounds.

Both V53 and R68 were travelling in the last of three cars that started tailing the minicab in convoy at Blackhorse Road, near Ferry Lane where the incident took place. There was also a control vehicle nearby.

The court has previously heard that Mr Duggan had been under surveillance on August 4, as well as the previous day.

The two firearms officers were in the C, or Charlie, vehicle, which came to a stop behind the taxi, after A, or Alpha, overtook it to block it in the road, and B, or Bravo, pulled up alongside.

The prosecution claims Duggan travelled in a taxi to collect the gun from Hutchinson-Foster in Leyton, east London, before continuing to Tottenham.

It is alleged that Mr Duggan travelled via minicab from Hoxton to Leyton where he collected the gun in a shoebox, then continued his journey until he was stopped by police.

The prosecution has said Hutchinson-Foster admitted using the same gun in an attack on a barber six days previously.

He beat Peter Osadebay using the gun at the Lagoon Salon on Kingsland Road, Dalston, east London, on July 29 2011.

Traces of Mr Osadebay's blood were found on the gun when it was retrieved from Ferry Lane on August 4, as was Hutchinson-Foster's DNA, the court heard.

The shoebox was found in the minicab and had both Mr Duggan's and the defendant's fingerprints on it, as well as those of Desire Cox - Hutchinson-Foster's girlfriend at the time.

The officer whose radio was hit by a bullet told the court: "It was as though I was kicked fully in the side, in the upper ribs area.

"It knocked the wind out of me, and caused me to drop my aim from the subject that exited the minicab.

"The radio was shown to me by one of my colleagues and the covert harness the radio was in, and that was the round that struck me on the side."

The trial continues tomorrow.

PA

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