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Video transcript: Mark Saunders gun siege death

Image caption Mr Saunders' voice was hard to understand

Police footage of an armed stand-off, which ended with barrister Mark Saunders being shot dead at his home in Chelsea, west London, has been shown at his inquest.

This is part of the transcript from the video recording between the 32-year-old and negotiator Supt John Sutherland.

(1858 BST): Supt Sutherland leaves a message on Mr Saunders' phone.

JS: Mark, hello there. My name is John Sutherland. I'm with the police and I'm here to do what I can to help you. I'd be grateful if you give me a call back.

JS: Just wanna reassure you that we are here to help, that nobody's going to come into the house while you're in there. But what I want to do is talk to you, understand what's happening today and see if we can't help sort things out.

Mr Saunders does not respond but after repeated attempts to make contact, the police believe he is listening to the calls. The officers ask each other about the whereabouts of Mr Saunders' wife, Elizabeth. One officer, Steve Wagstaff, says she "needs to be in with us" and that they "need some control of her" in case she is calling the gunman.

Over the course of the next hour, the police keep trying to make contact and discuss their strategy. At around 1910 BST, the police conclude that Mr Saunders has turned off his mobile and his landline is constantly engaged. They suddenly make contact.

MS: Hello.

JS: Mark, it's John from the police. How you doing in there?

MS: Hello?

JS: Can you hear me, Mark? Can you hear me, Mark? It's John from the police.

MS: Hello.

Mr Saunders' voice is slurred and difficult to understand. The tape does not pick up the rest of the conversation, but it's clear from what follows that Mr Saunders begins to talk to the officers.

JS: (1911 BST) I'm sure you're scared, Mark. Tell me why you're scared.

Mr Saunders is clearly asking about the heavy police presence and helicopter overhead.

JS: (1912 BST) It's here because we're concerned about you. Yes, there's an awful lot going on outside and I quite understand you feeling scared, let me just reassure you that no-one from the police side of things wants to do anything at all to hurt you or harm you.

Mark, you have my word we're not coming in. What we want you to do is to come out safe and sound.

MS says something to JS which is not recorded.

JS: No, no, no, nobody's been hurt, Mark and that's the important thing. Have you got any injuries that I need to know about? It's been a heck of a day, hasn't it?

JS: (1913 BST) I'm not near your house, Mark. I can't see you, so you can describe to me what you are doing, but I can't see it myself. I'm talking on a telephone a little distance away.

Supt Sutherland keeps talking to Mr Saunders and says he sounds anxious. He asks if he has the gun with him.

JS: Nobody is going to get shot, Mark, I don't want that to happen. It doesn't have to happen. OK. Have you got the guns in there with you at the moment? Your guns?

The conversation continues and the officer tells Mr Saunders that he can move around the house but he must not pick up the gun. During this period, police officers are still moving into position around the property, climbing the scaffolding of a neighbouring house. Supt Sutherland asks Mr Saunders how much he has drunk.

JS: (1920 BST) No-one's going to hurt you or come to any harm. The important thing is to make sure you're safe. My only job is to keep you safe.

Supt Sutherland tells Mr Saunders he can walk around and encourages him to get a glass of water. He keeps asking about the whereabouts of the gun.

JS: I'm not going to shoot you, Mark. You're not going to get shot at.

One of the officers, off microphone, indicates that Mr Saunders has the gun.

JS: I need you to put that down, Mark. Can you put it down for me? Will you put it down on the floor? Good man. Now can you walk away from it?

Image caption Mark Saunders was not allowed to speak to his wife

JS: Listen, Mark, you're not going to die today. You're not going to die today. OK. It's as simple as that. We are here to help you and I am here to make sure that you don't come to any harm.

Another response from Mr Saunders.

JS: I promise you, Mark, you've got my word. I can't see you, you have just got to take my word for that.

Another response from Mr Saunders, who can be seen from the window. He looks worried and at one point has his head in his hands.

JS: You're staring at a guy who's got a rifle. That's one of the police officers outside.

JS: (1927 BST) "No-one's gonna think you're a nut-job, Mark. Nobody's suggested you're a nut-job, nobody has suggested that at all… stop drinking, Mark.

(Approx 1940 BST): One police officer sees Mr Saunders go to pick up his gun - but the negotiators persuade him to leave it alone. Marksmen can be seen crouching on a flat roof next door.

(Around 2000 BST): Mr Saunders begins writing notes and holding them up to the window. The police marksmen can see the notes, but the negotiators cannot. One officer says that he thinks one of the notes reads "Mum". Mr Saunders throws a large piece of paper out of the window.

The police try for more than 20 minutes to make contact with Mr Saunders. Supt Sutherland hears Mr Saunders being "violently sick". He tells colleagues that the barrister sounds "absolutely hammered". Concern is mounting on the outside, as officers do not know what Mr Saunders is going to do and cannot talk to him to find out. The negotiators debate their next move, including getting his wife to speak to him, or his close friend, Mike Bradley.

One officer says that Mr Saunders loves his wife "to bits". They debate whether the barrister is thinking of killing himself but conclude that he does not sound like someone who wants to die. They agree he is not being aggressive - but also that he is not being rational, and that means he may become unpredictable.

Officers agree that their strategy is to "minimise everything" in an effort to calm down the barrister. They decide that if they make contact again, they will try to reassure him and emphasise that nobody has been hurt.

At approximately 2030 BST, Mr Saunders makes a 999 call and asks to speak to the negotiators. He sounds confused and drunk and tells the operator he can see snipers. When asked for his name he says he is the "guy [at] Markham Square". The line goes dead.

Shortly afterwards, the police re-establish contact - but they are now concerned that Mr Saunders may want to kill himself.

Image caption Mr Saunders talked about his therapist shortly before his death

JS: You don't even want to give your wife a reason to mourn. You have just told me how much you care for her.

MS responds.

JS: If you love her to bits, the thing to do is to come safely out.

MS talks about his therapist.

JS: I didn't know you had a therapist... but to find yourself in this situation, it's clear to me that you need help. You don't need to go to prison, you need to get help.

JS emphasises that Elizabeth Saunders and friend Mike Bradley are both nearby. MS continues talking to JS and appears to be suggesting he will not survive the day.

JS: I genuinely believe that this can be a breakthrough day for you. It doesn't have to, it doesn't have to be breakdown day, it can be breakthrough day.

JS: Mark, you're not going to do that. I don't want you to come out and fire one barrel and I don't want you to take a barrel in the face. I don't want you to pick up your gun.

MS responds a number of times over the coming minutes and appears to be afraid that he will be shot by the officers.

JS: Nobody's going to shoot you, Mark. And being a barrister, if you want me to do it on oath, I will do it on oath. But I promise you that nobody is going to shoot you. Now, leave the gun there and go upstairs and I will prove that to you.

JS: You want to talk to your wife? When you come out you can talk to her.

At just after 2109, Mr Saunders shoots once. An officer, AZ6, responds by firing back twice.

JS: What are you doing, Mark? What are you doing, Mark? Mark, what are you doing? Mark, speak to me, speak to me please. Mark, can you hear me?

MS is shouting out of the window. JS continues to try to negotiate on the phone.

JS: Listen, you're not an unpleasant person. You haven't hurt anyone.

JS: Mark, you're a gentleman and you just happen to be a gentleman who needs a helping hand today. And that's why we're talking.

MS responds and the negotiators believe he may now be considering suicide.

JS: You're not resigned to killing yourself, Mark. There's too much to live for, Mark. There is too much to live for. Beginning with Lizzy and then the list goes on.

Over the course of the following minutes, Mr Saunders asks to talk to his wife and friend Mike. Supt Sutherland tells colleagues that he believes he only wants to talk to his wife to say goodbye. He can be seen leaning out of the window and appears to be drunk.

At approximately 2131 BST, he picks up the gun and waves it slowly from side to side. He starts to point the gun downwards. Officers open fire and Mark Saunders is shot dead.

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