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.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible