Man's dying breaths broadcast on television as family appeals for justice 13 years after shooting

Marvin Couson died last year after more than a decade in hospital with injuries from when he was shot in 2002

Lizzie Dearden
Tuesday 09 February 2016 17:05
Marvin Couson in hospital
Marvin Couson in hospital

Footage of a man’s dying breaths have been broadcast on television as his family appeal for justice 13 years after he was shot outside a London bar.

Marvin Couson died in August last year as a result of the shooting, having been left unable to communicate and with severe brain damage for more than a decade.

His sister, Margaret Couson, told the BBC’s Crimewatch programme she took the video when she noticed a change in his condition at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-Disability.

Warning: The following footage is extremely distressing

“At the time I didn’t know what was happening, I just saw something I hadn’t seen before with him struggling to take breaths so I started to film,” she said.

“I feel people need to see that this man, this completely innocent man, suffered in this way until his death because someone took a gun and shot him.”

Mr Couson passed away minutes later, just months from his 40th birthday, and police started a murder investigation.

A post-mortem examination gave cause of death as brain injury suffered as a direct result of the gunshot wound Mr Couson suffered to his chest on 12 May 2002.

The father-of-two, who was then 26 and worked fitting security systems for retailers, had been clubbing at the Lime Bar in Shoreditch, which is now the Queen of Hoxton.

Shortly after 3am, they were among more than 300 people who fled the building after shots were fired inside, injuring no one.

As they stood on the pavement, Mr Couson’s first friend noticed a T-reg red or burgundy Ford Fiesta, thought to contain at least two black men, driving fast along Curtain Road.

The vehicle struck him and he grappled with the front seat passenger, the Metropolitan Police said.

A gun was then fired and the friend walked back towards the bar to see Mr Couson lying shot on the ground. It was unclear if the shot came from the Fiesta.

Marvin Couson two weeks before he was shot in 2002

His family were told the bullet punctured his heart and ricocheted off his ribs, causing lengthy oxygen deprivation that led to severe brain damage.

Relatives interviewed on Crimewatch described how he would sometimes still be able to smile but often appeared to be in “agony”, while medical staff said Mr Couson could not communicate or understand anything said to him.

Scotland Yard’s specialist gun crime squad took launched several witness appeals for the hundreds of people who may have witnessed the crime to come forward and hope that the passing of time will now allow those with fears or “different loyalties” to do so.

One man was arrested during the course of the investigation, on 23 May 2002, but subsequently released with no further action.

Emily Couson, the victim’s mother, said she wanted the people responsible caught, adding: “I want to see them and speak to them and ask why. I want justice.”

Police have announced a £40,000 reward to catch his killers.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh said: “Marvin's shooting happened many years ago but you would remember if you were there that night and were one of those who fled in panic as shots were fired inside the bar.

“We need to speak to everyone who was there that night. I remain concerned some people may have a misguided sense of loyalty and are possibly protecting those who carried out this attack.

“Marvin should have celebrated his 40th birthday in November. Instead he spent 13 years in a hospital bed unable to do anything for himself before tragically succumbing to his injuries.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8785 8099 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.