Mark Duggan verdict 'fury', a Bafta battle, 'brave' Hitzlsperger and Commons quiet

The inquest verdict that Mark Duggan, whose shooting by police in August 2011 sparked riots across England, was killed lawfully dominates the morning's papers.

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The Independent's crime correspondent Paul Peachey charts the evidence that emerged about the incident, which he describes as starting with "a 'textbook' stop of a minicab carrying a dangerous gangster" and ending with what Mr Duggan's family have called his "execution".

As the paper's front-page report notes, the inquest concluded with "jury abused and police denounced as murderers".

Even some police were surprised at the lawful killing verdict, says the Guardian, given the jury had decided Mr Duggan did not have a gun at the time. Labour's MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, writes in the paper that "aspects of the verdict are perplexing".

He recalls being stopped by armed police and having "the nagging thought that it would only have taken one wrong movement... and there is a chance I would not be here today". It will take time to rebuild trust in police, Mr Lammy adds.

"No doubt police engagement with the local community still leaves something to be desired," acknowledges the Times, which reports that police are on alert for disorder over the verdict. But it says the rioting that followed Mr Duggan's death was "idiotic opportunism on the part of the criminally minded" and concludes: "One man made a disastrous choice to carry firearms and run with a murderous gang and his name was Mark Duggan."

'Unacceptable abuse'

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The Daily Mail describes Mr Duggan as "the man who lived by the gun" and is outraged by the way the jury was treated.

"For the pains they took in doing their civic duty, their reward was to be threatened, abused and chased from the courtroom," reads its editorial.

"Indeed, their treatment was an offence against every one of us who believes in the rule of law."

Likewise, the Daily Mirror's editorial says: "The family and supporters are entitled to challenge the verdict but abuse, whether directed at jurors or the police, is completely unacceptable."

Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports that London Mayor Boris Johnson is among those backing the officers who had to make "instant judgments under incredible pressure".

Reviewing the papers for the BBC News Channel, Financial Times deputy political editor Beth Rigby said: "There's a split where some Labour politicians have been coming out to question the verdict and some Tories have been saying 'give the police the benefit of the doubt, they are very difficult cases and the police officer acted in good faith'."

Her co-panellist, author John Kampfner, added: "There are a lot of question marks around it but these jurors saw more evidence than anybody else."

Bafta battle

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"It's Emma Thompson v Judi Dench," says the Daily Mail as it scans the nominations for the Baftas, with the British veterans nominated for Saving Mr Banks and Philomena respectively.

"British film's a winner whoever prevails," reckons the Independent, while "Brits blitz the nominations," is the Times's take, as it suggests the stars have their sights set on the Oscars.

But Kate Muir, in the Times2 section, questions the nomination of Gravity as Outstanding British Film. "How does a film set in outer space, starring Americans Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and directed by Mexican-born Alfonso Cuaron qualify as British?" she asks.

The answer given to her by Bafta, says Muir, was that much of the production happened at Pinewood and Shepperton studios and - with Cuaron's British residence thrown in - it meant the film met the points criteria to qualify as British.

Hitz out

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The Guardian catches up with Thomas Hitzlsperger, who on Wednesday became the first former Premier League footballer to announce he's gay, to find him staying away from his computer so as not to discover the public reaction.

That it was largely supportive reflected the experience of diver Tom Daley, after his recent similar announcement.

Hitzlsperger tells the paper he gained courage from reading about Daley's experience, along with those of ex-basketball player John Amaechi and rugby star Gareth Thomas.

The Sun declares the tough-tackling midfielder - nicknamed "Der Hammer" for his thumping shot - a "winner" for his decision.

But it notes in its leader column: "It would take almost superhuman bravery to come out as a gay man while still playing Premier League football," given that "abuse from a moronic minority" could be career-ending.

The Guardian's editorial agrees: "There is some way to go before referees and stewards react to taunts about 'queers' and 'faggots' just as fiercely as they do to 1970s poison about 'monkey boys'."

Rare decorum

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Papers pay tribute to Labour MP Paul Goggins, who died aged 60 after suffering a stroke while jogging. The Times describes him as a "deeply religious man who spent his life in the pursuit of social justice" who was "genuinely regarded as 'one of the good guys'".

Its political editor Francis Elliott says news of his death took the fight out of Prime Minister's Questions, adding: "There was no appetite for animus."

The Daily Mail's Quentin Letts captures the subdued atmosphere in the Commons, describing the Speaker John Bercow as "close to, or in fact maybe in, tears". The sketch continued "[Goggins] did not use silly slogans... did not stir trouble for his party leadership, did not talk in media soundbites. No wonder he never made it to cabinet. Everyone who paid tribute seemed to be noting in poor Goggins something they themselves lacked."

In its editorial, the Daily Mirror declares Mr Goggins "a hugely respected champion of working people".

Ashes 'heroes'

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Praise has been in short supply for England's cricketers during their tour of Australia, where they suffered a humiliating series whitewash.

But, says the Daily Express, "two of England's Test cricketers turned out to be heroes after all... when they saved the life of a man who was preparing to jump off a bridge in Sydney". Wicketkeeper Matt Prior "hauled the man to safety" and, together with all-rounder Stuart Broad, spent an hour talking to him until help arrived, the paper says, noting that the distressed man was apparently unaware who they were.

Offering them a resounding "Well played," the Telegraph's editorial contrasts their actions with those of Broad when he was photographed urinating on the Oval's pitch after winning the home Ashes series in August last year.

It concludes: "England's cricketers have been the object of derision this week, but if the boorishness of that August night hinted at an arrogance that was ripe to be pricked, perhaps this quiet act of decency presages another change in fortunes - preferably in time for the one-day series that starts this weekend."

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