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
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'