08-17-2005, 09:57 AM
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Timeline: the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes
By Jenny Booth, Times Online
Leaked documents from the official inquiry have shed new light on how Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by plain clothes officers at Stockwell Tube station in South London. According to the leaked reports, this was the sequence of events:
Friday July 22
Early: police monitor a flat in Scotia Road, Tulse Hill, South London, which they believed is linked to the previous day’s failed bomb attempts on London transport
9.30am: Officers see de Menezes walking to a bus stop and boarding a bus heading to Stockwell Tube station. He is wearing a light denim jacket and not the heavily padded coat capable of hiding an explosives belt that was initially claimed
A surveillance officer at Tulse Hill checks the photographs of the terror suspects and decides "it would be worth someone else having a look" to see if Mr de Menezes matches them. He himself has missed Mr de Menezes's departure as "I was in the process of relieving myself", and was thus unable to transmit his observations and turn on his video camera
Officers assume that de Menezes's "description and demeanour" match one of the terror suspects.
During the course of his journey: officers pass on information to Gold Command, their operations centre, that he matches the description of one of two terror suspects, including Hussain Osman, the alleged Shepherd’s Bush bomber.
Gold Command instructs them to stop de Menezes from getting on the Tube. It changes the status of the operation to "code red tactic" - from mere surveillance to an armed operation - and hands over control to CO19, the specialist firearms unit.
10am: CCTV footage shows de Menezes entering the station at a normal walking pace, picking up a free Metro newspaper, and slowly descending on an escalator. This conflicts with early accounts which described him vaulting over the barriers to the tube station, running to a Tube train and tripping over before being shot
Hearing a train pulling in, he runs across the concourse, gets into the train and sits down on the first available seat. Witnesses say that he boards through the middle doors before pausing, looking left and right, then sitting down in either the second or third seat facing the platform
At that point, armed officers were "provided with positive identification", the document says.
The officers start to shout, including the word "police". De Menezes got up and advanced towards the CO19 officers, according to one surveillance officer.
Another member of the surveillance team grabs him and holds him down in his seat. "I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side. I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting ... I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away on to the floor of the carriage."
De Menezes is shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, according to the post-mortem examination. Three other bullets missed their target. The spent bullet cases are left lying on the floor of the carriage
10.50am: News of the shooting breaks in the media. The first reports indicate that a suspected suicide bomber, possibly one of the four failed bombers of the previous day, has been shot at Stockwell Tube
One member of the public is widely reported saying that he saw about 20 police officers, some of them armed, rushing into the station before a man jumped over the barriers with police giving chase. Another witness says that the man had wires trailing from his jacket and what appeared to be a bomb belt
Another says that the victim looked Pakistani and was wearing a thick winter coat. He describes him as looking like a "cornered fox" as he was "hotly pursued", that he half tripped on his way into the train and was then shot five times in the head
11.50am: Scotland Yard confirms that the victim died at the scene.
4pm: Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, tells a press conference that the shooting was "directly linked" to anti-terror operations. He says: "As I understand the situation, the man was challenged and refused to obey police instructions."
That afternoon: the Met issues a statement that suggests that officers were assuming that the dead man was one of the previous day's bombers. It reads: "The man shot at Stockwell station is still subject to formal identification and it is not yet clear whether he is one of the four people we are seeking to identify and whose pictures have been released today. It therefore remains extremely important that members of the public continue to assist police in relation to all four pictures.
"This death, like all deaths related to police operations, is obviously a matter of deep regret. Nevertheless the man who was shot was under police observation because he had emerged from a house that was itself under observation because it was linked to the investigation of yesterday’s incidents. He was then followed by surveillance officers to the station. His clothing and his behaviour at the station added to their suspicions"
Saturday, July 23
5pm: Scotland Yard says that the victim was not connected to attempted terror attacks on the capital. A spokeswoman said: "For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets"
It is announced that the death is being investigated by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards, and will be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission
9.30pm: Scotland Yard confirmed the identity of the victim as 27-year-old Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes
Sunday July 25
10.30am: Sir Ian Blair apologises to the family but says that there will be no change to the police shoot-to-kill policy
2.30pm: Tony Blair says that he is "desperately sorry" at the death of an innocent person