The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has published the findings of its investigation into the fatal police shooting of Terry Nicholas following the outcome of the inquest into his death, which concluded Friday 2 October 2009.
Fifty-two year old Terry Nicholas was shot dead by Metropolitan Police firearms officers on 15 May 2007 in a car park behind a restaurant at Hanger Green, Ealing. He had been the target of two shootings the month before and police had intelligence to suggest that he was going to get a gun from an associate that evening for self protection or revenge.
In a pre-planned operation, Terry Nicholas was placed under surveillance and seen going to Paulo’s restaurant in Ealing. He met a man outside the restaurant and directed him round the back, meeting him there for a few minutes before returning to his family in the restaurant.
At about 10.20pm, he left the restaurant alone by the back door. Firearms officers, in two unmarked cars, were tasked with intercepting and arresting him. As they drove towards him, Terry Nicholas took out a gun and fired it at one of the cars. Three officers fired shots, hitting him numerous times, and he was pronounced dead at 11.11pm.
The IPCC launched an independent investigation, examining the MPS response to the earlier shooting, the planning and implementation of the firearms operation and the actions of the firearms officers on the night itself.
Independent investigators conducted house to house enquiries, took statements from independent witnesses and police officers, commissioned forensic and ballistic experts and examined various documents and logs.
The IPCC investigation, which concluded in October 2007, found no evidence of any criminal or misconduct offences having been committed by any officer involved, however, the written risk assessment should have included a more in-depth assessment fo the risk to Terry Nicholas himself.
IPCC Commissioner for London, Deborah Glass, said: "I know that Terry Nicholas’s family and friends believe that he would not have fired if he had known the people approaching him were police officers and, while I agree this may have been the case, it is impossible to say with any certainty.
"Firearms officers have a difficult job to do and have to make split-second, life and death decisions. Terry Nicholas was armed and had shot at them. In this case, I believe they were justified in the action they took and the inquest verdict confirms this. Although the risk to Terry Nicholas should have been better documented, this was a well planned and professionally conducted operation, with a tragic outcome.”
An inquest into the death of Terry Nicholas concluded today, Friday 2 October 2009, at Fulham Town Hall. The jury returned a verdict of lawful killing.
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The IPCC Commissioner's Report into this case can be found here.
Amy Wright, Communities & Young People Press Officer, 020 7166 3026
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