Shot policeman suspected of faking attack

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The Independent Online

A policeman awarded a commendation for bravery has been arrested on suspicion that he deliberately shot himself in the stomach to fake an attack.

An attempted murder inquiry costing hundreds of thousands of pounds was launched after PC William Morrison, 50, was wounded in an apparent attack in north London in December 2002. But the officer, since promoted to sergeant, became the focus of the inquiry after the investigating officers became suspicious of his story.

Sgt Morrison was being questioned yesterday at a police station in north London after being arrested and charged with firearms offences and attempting to pervert the course of justice. The officer, who works in Islington, was a probationer PC at the time of the shooting.

He said he was approaching a parked Saab with three men inside at Highbury Corner when one man jumped out and ran, and the others drove away. He claimed that the man running away - described as black and 6ft tall - turned and shot him in the stomach, the bullet piercing his skin below his bullet-proof vest, causing a serious flesh wound.

A handgun, which was not a police weapon, was recovered at the scene and submitted for forensic tests. The shooting was treated as the attempted murder of an unarmed officer.

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Shatford said then: "This was a callous attack on an unarmed officer, and we are devoting a great deal of resources into investigating this very serious incident."

Sgt Morrison, a former physiotherapist who joined the Met as a mature recruit nearly four years ago, was only just recovering from being stabbed at the time of the shooting. In the first incident he was injured in the leg when he rugby-tackled a schizophrenic who had threatened a 14-year-old girl with a knife at Finsbury Park Tube station in north London and had already stabbed a British Transport Police inspector in the chest and leg. PC Morrison was commended for bravery.

Glen Smyth, chairman of the Police Federation's Met branch, said then: "It is a unique set of circumstances to be seriously injured twice in the line of duty in such a short time." But investigating officers from the Specialist Crime Directorate, who deal with firearms incidents, were suspicious of PC Morrison's story. Despite a lengthy inquiry and several public appeals no one has been arrested for the shooting.

Several months ago the investigating officers turned their attention to their colleague and a covert inquiry was set up. Some of the Met's most senior officers were kept informed of the progress of the case because of the extreme sensitivity of investigating a officer in such circumstances.

Sgt Morrison was arrested at his home in Tottenham, north London, on Tuesday. A police source said yesterday: "This is one of the most bizarre cases I have come across in my career."