Mark Duggan inquest: Killed man was trailed by police

  • 17 September 2013
  • From the section London
Media captionThe Duggan inquest was told that the fatal shot was fired in self-defence

A man shot dead by police in London, sparking nationwide riots, had been under surveillance before his death, an inquest has heard.

Mark Duggan was killed in Tottenham, north London, in August 2011 when armed police believed he had a gun.

Jurors have been told to consider whether officers needed to shoot and whether a planned police operation minimised the need for lethal force.

The inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice is expected to last two months.

'Firmed up' intelligence

The inquest is expected to include evidence from 100 witnesses, with police officers doing so from behind a screen and under code names.

Ashley Underwood QC, counsel to the inquest, told the court Mr Duggan had been surveyed by Operation Trident, a police investigation into gangs and violent crime.

He said police received intelligence the 29-year-old was "intent" on picking up a gun from someone they believed was Kevin Hutchinson-Foster which was "firmed up" in the days leading up to the shooting.

Image caption Pam (right) and Marlon Duggan (behind, right), the mother and brother of Mark Duggan, attended court

Mr Underwood said the police trailed Mr Duggan after receiving information he was carrying a firearm and was on his way to Broadwater Farm in Tottenham.

They were ordered to intercept the minicab he was travelling in on Ferry Lane.

On approaching the vehicle, an officer known as V53, fired twice believing Mr Duggan was reaching for the gun and presented a threat.

The officer also believed the "gun kept coming out" after he fired the first shot and said he was acting in self-defence.

'Capable of lethal force'

Mr Duggan was hit in the bicep and the chest, piercing his aorta, and died despite the police "strenuously and professionally" performing first aid, Mr Underwood said.

The inquest was told that a doctor is expected to say "no amount of radical surgery could have saved Mark Duggan" when he gives evidence.

Tweeting from the court room, Home Affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said: "There were gasps in the court room as a photo of Duggan's bloodstained puffa jacket with bullet holes was shown."

Mr Underwood added that police were "surprised" not to find a gun on the wounded man.

A loaded pistol wrapped in a dark sock, "entirely capable of lethal force" was later found about 20ft (6m) from the vehicle, the court was told.

Mr Underwood said a police firearms stop is designed to "shock and awe" targets into submission, but "regrettably" Mr Duggan" knew police were tailing him and sent a text message warning others that he was being followed.

Mr Underwood added that during the investigation one particle of gunshot residue was found in Duggan's back pocket but it was "not statistically significant" according to experts.

The inquest was also told about an anonymous letter which was sent in 2012 to the Met's commissioner, the local MP and the Duggan family.

The letter claimed an informant working for a Trident officer "hatched a plan to persuade Mr Duggan to pick up the gun from Mr Hutchinson-Foster", said Mr Underwood.

He said the letter went on to suggest that anything less than shooting dead Mr Duggan would have exposed the informant.

The court was told that a detective inspector investigated these claims, but she could find no evidence to support the allegation.

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