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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Are Britain’s trigger-happy police now lethally out of control?
Another disturbing article from Police State, Gordon Brown, Nu Lab Britain.
Death at the cathedral: Are Britain’s trigger-happy police now lethally out of control? | Mail Online
For the past three years, since breaking up with his girlfriend, David Sycamore had lodged with his retired parents in a beautifully kept modern semi, close to the centre of Guildford.
He was grateful for their hospitality, of course. Yet the 39-year-old insurance company worker suffered from bouts of depression - and at his lowest ebb, the place where he felt most at home was the nearby Anglican cathedral.
Mr Sycamore would walk a mile or so to the imposing hilltop edifice, whose 160ft redbrick tower dominates the historic Surrey town. There he would sit quietly amid the empty pews or perhaps on a bench in the Seeds of Hope garden.
'David would go to the cathedral because it was so calm and serene,' his mother Linda told me. 'He wasn't deeply religious, but he had his own faith, and he used to say: "It's my place of solace; somewhere I can sit and meditate and find inner peace." '
Tearfully, Mrs Sycamore acknowledges the bitter irony of her words. For last Sunday afternoon, when her son trudged to his cherished retreat, peace was the last thing that lay in store for him. Little more than half an hour after leaving the house - 'humming a cheerful little tune', his mother recalls - David Sycamore lay dead on the cathedral steps.
Mr Sycamore is the eighth person to be shot dead by police officers in the past two years - including the controversial shooting of 32-year-old Chelsea lawyer Mark Saunders - and his death also comes amid fears that the police are becoming too trigger-happy; shooting to kill when non-lethal methods of restraint, such as Tasers and CS gas, could be used.
The Police Complaints Commission is investigating these incidents. Mike Franklin, the IPCC commissioner in charge of the Sycamore case, promises that the Dean's concerns will also be examined thoroughly, and, where necessary, 'lessons learned'.
These lessons will come too late for David Sycamore. So who was he, and why was he gunned down with such haste in the place where people seek sanctuary?
In some newspaper articles this week, he has been depicted as an unstable loner with a fetish for replica guns and other weaponry. It was also suggested that he had provoked the police deliberately into killing him, committing 'suicide by cop' to use the jargon.
His family - solid, working-class people - are deeply offended by these stories and do not recognise the character they portray. 'David was shy, and he was very kind and soft,' says his younger brother Mark, 34.
'If someone picked a fight with him he wouldn't hit them back. He was never in trouble in his life.' His mother nods. 'He was a real old-fashioned gentleman. But he had plenty of friends and went out a lot to the pub or the cinema.
'He also had a wicked sense of humour, just like Rowan Atkinson's. Even when he was feeling depressed, he wouldn't moan - he would make a joke out of it.'
Mark Saunder's story:-
Mark Saunders shooting: Lawyer shot dead by siege police 'came close to giving up'
Fresh questions have been raised about the death of the barrister Mark Saunders in an armed siege after it emerged that police negotiators came close to ending the stand-off at one point before nine officers opened fire on him.
By Gordon Rayner, Chief Reporter
Last Updated: 9:31PM BST 19 May 2008
Mark Saunders' death has prompted calls for a review of police firearms police Photo: NEWSTEAM Mr Saunders, 32, was hit at least five times after three exchanges of fire with police, which one officer likened to a scene from the OK Corral.
His wife, Elizabeth, said at his funeral last week that she had "many questions" about how he met his death at the end of the five-hour siege in Chelsea, west London.
Now The Daily Telegraph has learnt that police negotiators who were trying to persuade Mr Saunders to surrender felt they were close to a breakthrough shortly before the siege on May 6 came to its bloody end