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Derek Bennett marksmen back at work

by Lester Holloway

THE POLICE marksman who shot Derek Bennett four times as he ran away is back at work, Scotland Yard said. He is one of eleven cops this month to get their jobs back after controversial deaths.

Gunned down: Derek Bennett
Gunned down: Derek Bennett

Officer 'A' – who killed Bennett in Brixton, south London, was reinstated to the SO19 armed unit yesterday following an inquests lawful killing verdict the previous day.

His colleague Officer 'B', who had been promoted after the shooting, is also back on active firearms duty, the police confirmed.

A Metropolitan Police statement said: “After yesterday’s finding of lawful killing at the inquest into the death of Derek Bennett, the operational status of the officer who fired the shots has been reviewed and he is no longer subject to restrictions.


“Both firearms officers involved in the incident are now in a position to return to full operational SO19 duties at their discretion and subject to re-certification.”

On Wednesday an eleven-person jury at Southwark Coroners Court came to an 9-2 majority verdict that Bennett, 29, had been lawfully killed when he was shot in the Angell Town estate on 16 July 2001.

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Last week the Met reinstated two armed officers in the case of Harry Stanley, an Irishman who was shot dead in Hackney, north London, after he came out of a pub carrying a table leg in a plastic bag five years ago.

Despite an inquest reaching an unlawful killing verdict, and the imminent decision of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) concerning possible criminal charges against the marksmen, Deputy Commissioner Sir Ian Blair gave the cops their jobs back.

Sir Ian's actions followed a strike by 100 firearms officers, who handed in their weapon authorisation cards in protest at the inquest decision, prompting Commissioner Sir John Stevens and former Home Secretary David Blunkett to give assurances over the protection of SO19 officers from prosecution.

Earlier this month seven serving officers in the case of Roger Sylvester, who died of asphyixa after being restrained for 25 minutes, were reinstated. As in the Stanley case, the Met's action pre-empted a CPS decision on possible criminal charges.

The Sylvester cops were given their jobs back after they overturned an unlawful killing inquest verdict in the High Court on a technicality.

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