Police shooting death inquest opens


An inquest into the death of a man shot dead by police in a village car park was opened today.

Anthony Paul Grainger, from Bolton, died of a single gunshot wound to the chest after the car he was in was stopped in the village of Culcheth, Cheshire, on Saturday evening in what police described as a "pre-planned operation".

Nicholas Rheinberg, the coroner for Cheshire, formally opened the inquest this afternoon at Warrington Coroner's Court and then adjourned it, pending the findings of an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation.

James Donaghy, deputy senior investigator for the IPCC, told the coroner that they would be leading the inquiry into what happened and that he anticipated it would be a "protracted" investigation due to the "significant number of police officers" they would need to speak to.

The inquest heard that Mr Grainger was 36, born in Salford and lived in Deane Church Lane, Bolton.

His occupation was given as "odd job man".

Officers from Greater Manchester Police's (GMP) Specialist Operations branch performed first aid after the shooting in Jackson Avenue, but Mr Grainger died.

The operation was understood to be part of a GMP-led investigation into an alleged planned robbery in the area.

David Totton, 33, of Rochdale Road, Manchester; Joseph Travers, 27, of no fixed address; and Robert Rimmer, 26, of Ainsbrook Avenue, New Moston, Manchester, were last night charged with conspiracy to commit robbery between January 24 and March 3, GMP said.

All three appeared before Manchester Magistrates Court today.

Mr Grainger was a defendant in a multimillion-pound drugs trial which led to a juror being jailed for contempt of court.

Joanne Fraill, 40, was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment last year after she admitted exchanging Facebook messages with co-defendant Jamie Sewart, 34, who had already been acquitted, in August 2010.

Mr Grainger was later cleared of conspiracy to supply drugs but had already admitted handling stolen cars in connection with the case and was jailed for 20 months.

At the opening of the trial at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court in May 2010 Anthony Cross QC told the jury about what police found when they raided Mr Grainger's former home.

He said: "That night police went to 8 Thanet Close, Salford, occupied by Anthony Grainger. During the course of that search, officers recovered significant cash, three sets of body armour and a CS gas canister. Please ask yourself why would Grainger need body armour?"

Tributes were left on Facebook, with one saying: "I love you Anthony, you are the one who will be in my heart forever, my fella, my best friend, my soul mate."

The message ended: "Hope you sleep well xxxx all my love Gail x".

The shooting, which happened in a car park in Jackson Avenue, sparked panic among residents, with villagers caught up in the stand-off and shepherded to safety comparing scenes to "something off a film".