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?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions