Anger over 'vilification' of Menezes marksmen

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The Independent Online

Firearms bosses at Scotland Yard are openly angry over the way two elite marksmen were "vilified" during the Menezes inquest.

Of the catalogue of errors highlighted at the Oval cricket ground in south London, some officers insist that C2 and C12 had little option but to shoot Jean Charles de Menezes.

Chief Inspector Martin Rush, who trained the pair, said they had been attacked despite showing tremendous courage.

He said: "I have nothing but admiration for them. They should be admired but they are actually being vilified and I think that is dreadfully unfortunate."

Former Superintendent Phil Manns, C2 and C12's commander on July 22 2005, was also critical of the way the inquest forensically picked apart the fast moving events of more than three years ago.

He told Sky News' Mark White: "You cannot over-estimate the speed of thought and action in an incident like this."

He clapped his hands, adding: "As quick as I do that, I could be detonating a bomb.

"For people who come out of the woodwork afterwards, for them to criticise those people, it sticks in my throat.

"If you believe that you're putting yourself in a situation where you're probably going to die and yet you still go forward and deal with that situation, it doesn't get braver than that. Nobody dropped out. Nobody said 'I can't do this job'. They all stepped up to the line."

Mr Manns, who now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, was responsible for telling C2 and C12 they had shot an innocent person.

He added: "I saw the visible reaction, and I would say it was one of shock, bewilderment, fear - all of those emotions - and confusion."

In emotionally-charged scenes, C12 broke down in tears as he spoke of their sorrow over the shooting.

Even Coroner Sir Michael Wright was clearly moved by the turmoil the pair were still going through as he directed the jury against an unlawful killing verdict.

Sir Michael added: "This tough, fit, highly-trained, mature man broke down in tears and this fact may assist you in assessing the depth of the emotional experience that he was going through here when he was reliving the terrible events of July 22."