Prosecutors urged to review gun training death

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was under mounting pressure last night to reopen the file on a police firearms expert who shot dead a fellow officer at point blank range. It came after an inquest jury returned a majority verdict of unlawful killing over the “cops and robbers” training exercise in which Pc Ian Terry died while playing the part of a criminal escaping from police in a suspect car.

The jury criticised Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) firearms training unit which staged the scenario in a disused warehouse in 2008 finding evidence of systemic failure in the force’s preparation of the exercise which it said was “forseeably unsafe”. Pc Terry, 32, from Burnley, Lancashire, was killed by a colleague who was granted anonymity and known only as “Chris” during proceedings. In evidence the still-serving officer told the inquest that he had acted “instinctively” when he opened fire with a pump action shot gun loaded with specialist blank rounds normally used to burst vehicle tyres.

At the time of Pc Terry’s death the CPS said there was insufficient evidence to launch prosecutions against either the officer or the force. But yesterday the jury, which was asked to consider five questions over the handling of the exercise, decided that his life could have been saved if the appropriate precautions were in place.

Manchester coroner Nigel Meadows said he would be sending a copy of their findings and the inquest evidence to the CPS. “There are both national and local implications that should be taken into account for those who plan and take part in such exercises,” he said.

In a statement read outside court Mr Terry’s father Roy Terry described his son as “a devoted husband and loving father”. He accused the force of “complacency at all levels” and added: “We owe it to Ian to express our own disappointment at the conduct of a number of officers who Ian regarded as friends in their reluctance to accept any responsibility for their actions.” He said: “The officer with the shot gun ultimately caused Ian’s death but we firmly believe there were many fingers on the trigger.”

Much of the five-week inquest was heard in secret after GMP argued that an open hearing could endanger its officers. In evidence “Chris” admitted he had broken the “golden rule” by releasing the safety catch on his shotgun.

GMP Chief Constable Peter Fahy issued a personal apology to Pc Terry’s family. He said: “I accept that some of our systems and practices were inappropriate and did play a part in Ian’s death.” He said that since the tragedy changes had been made but that firearms training would continue.

A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation is still to be held and the results of an Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry will not be published until all other investigations are concluded.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Reimagined: Gwyneth Paltrow and Toni Collette in the film adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
Cannes 2015Dheepan, film review
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine