Sir Ian Blair 'trying to rewrite history'

De Menezes family attacks former Met chief for praising Stockwell officers in book

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes have accused the former Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair of "trying to rewrite history" with his autobiography, in which he praises the actions of the two armed officers who shot dead the Brazilian electrician.

Extracts from Sir Ian's book, Policing Controversy, appeared in a Sunday newspaper yesterday. In passages referring to the day Mr de Menezes was killed in Stockwell Tube station in south London, Sir Ian said the death was due to "a ghastly combination of circumstances". He added that, had Mr de Menezes been a terrorist, the officers who killed him – codenamed Charlie 2 and Charlie 12 – would have been awarded medals for bravery.

He wrote: "Given what they thought they were dealing with, Charlie 2 and Charlie 12 ... should each have been awarded the George Medal. Instead they live for the rest of their lives with the knowledge that they took part in the killing of an entirely innocent man."

Yasmin Khan, a social justice and race relations lawyer who runs the Justice4Jean campaign on behalf of Mr de Menezes' family, said: "Ian Blair has always had quite an evasive relationship with the truth and these extracts emphasise that. He seems to be trying to rewrite history because a lot of what he says flies in the face of what the jury at the inquest said."

Sir Ian wrote that "the officers were adamant that he [Mr de Menezes] kept coming towards them, with his hands in front of him." But in a questionnaire given out at Mr de Menezes' inquest last December, the jury agreed that Mr de Menezes did not move towards the officers before being shot. It was a crucial point, as the officers had cited it as a key reason for deciding to kill him.

Ms Khan said that Mr de Menezes' parents in Brazil were not yet aware of the book, but that the extracts had been seen by his remaining relatives in the UK. She added: "We are all shocked that Ian Blair is somehow trying to resurrect some kind of respectability. Everyone just wishes he would leave it alone. It is quite insulting to bring it all up again."

Since resigning in December last year after the London Mayor Boris Johnson forced him out, Sir Ian has refused to speak publicly about his controversial reign in charge of Britain's biggest police force. His book is widely seen as his opportunity to set the record straight on aspects of his tenure.

In the extracts, published by the Mail on Sunday, he also discusses the 7/7 terror attacks in London, 9/11 and his reasons for joining the police force. He reveals that on 11 September 2001 he sat in a meeting "open-mouthed" as, fearing that planes which had activated distress signals were due to attack Britain, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair outlined plans for military jets to intercept the aircraft. And he recalls how, on 7/7, the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke turned to him outside Scotland Yard and said: "Ian, find the fuckers."

The serialisation was said to come as a surprise to Sir Ian's former colleagues at Scotland Yard, some of whom were not made aware of the publication until late on Saturday. However, unlike Andy Hayman, the former assistant commissioner in charge of anti-terror, Sir Ian has not yet attacked any of his former colleagues. In his book, Mr Hayman described Sir Ian as "distant and aloof" and criticised his media-handling in the aftermath of the de Menezes incident.

But Sir Ian praises his former deputy and the now commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, saying that he was "very well supported" by Sir Paul in the aftermath of 7/7. He also describes Mr Hayman as "particularly involved".

Coded attack: Blair on Boris

*Sir Ian describes how he attended Oxford University which, he says was "struggling to shake off a continuing and unfortunate aristocratic reputation." He adds: "There was a minor but irritating streak of upper-class nastiness, of which the now famous Bullingdon Club was only one example." It is perhaps worth noting that one of the Bullingdon Club's most illustrious ex-members is a certain Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London and the man who, last October, forced Sir Ian to resign from the Met.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Hire Manager - Tool Hire

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent