Verdict of 'death by cop' used in UK for first time

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The Independent Online

A coroner's court jury is believed to have made British legal history by returning a verdict of "suicide by cop" in the case of a man who was shot dead by police.

A coroner's court jury is believed to have made British legal history by returning a verdict of "suicide by cop" in the case of a man who was shot dead by police.

For a long time in the United States the expression "suicide by cop" has been used to describe a situation where someone armed and dangerous rushes out and attacks police with the intention of not surviving a shoot-out. And earlier this year a report from the British police complaints authority suggested that 11 of the 24 people shot dead by police in the past four years had committed "suicide by cop".

But the verdict on the death of Michael Malsbury, 62, by Hornsey coroners' court yesterday was said to have been the first court-sanctioned description of the phenomenon.

Mr Malsbury, 62, a minicab driver, was killed by a marksman after an armed siege at his house in Harrow, north-west London on 14 November 2001. The jury was told the siege began when Mr Malsbury barricaded himself in his house that day, after attacking his wife with a rolling pin.

Police surrounded the house in Eastleigh Avenue from around 2.25am until 1pm when a shot was fired from inside. Police Constable Philip Joyles returned fire and Mr Malsbury was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.