Profile: Who was Mark Duggan?

By Matt Prodger
Home affairs correspondent

image copyrightBBC news grab
image captionMark Duggan died after being shot in Tottenham

His mother said he was a beautiful son but no angel, the police described him as a violent gangster, and on the formal conclusion of the inquest his occupation was listed simply as clothing retailer. So who was Mark Duggan?

He was born in Tottenham, north London, in 1981 to his mother Pamela who is originally from Manchester and his late father Bruno.

Three years later Mark Duggan's younger brother Marlon was born, who today bears a striking resemblance to his sibling.

His mother told the inquest that, as an infant, Mark Duggan was shy and clingy but at the age of 12 he went to stay with his aunt Carole in Manchester because his behaviour in secondary school had deteriorated.

He returned to Tottenham at the age of 17 and went on to father six children, the youngest of whom was born after he died.

An association with gangs developed, but to what extent is fiercely disputed.

One of the questions the coroner Keith Cutler put to the jury at the end of the evidence was: "Was he in fact someone who was sliding into criminal ways or was he a confirmed serious criminal?"

Det Ch Insp Mick Foote, from the Met's gang crime unit Trident, said Mark Duggan was a "confrontational and violent" member of Tottenham Man Dem, a gang associated with drug dealing and violence, the latter usually targeted at other gangs in London.

image copyrightAFP
image captionMark Duggan's mother Pamela, and his brother Marlon at the inquest

He said the gang contained "48 of Europe's most violent criminals". In 2011, Mark Duggan was one of the targets of a police operation called Dibri which was focusing on a spike in gun-related incidents in London nightclubs.

The officer told the inquest there was intelligence that Mark Duggan had shot someone in a nightclub and on another occasion fired a gun in a club car park.

He was once allegedly treated in hospital for a gunshot wound to his foot.

He'd also been arrested, but not charged, on suspicion of murder and was twice picked up after allegedly travelling in cars where ammunition and a gun were found.

'Minor offences'

But Det Ch Insp Foote said he was "very lightly convicted". Minor offences like cannabis possession and the sale of stolen goods were all he had on his record.

Some of the police intelligence on Mark Duggan was graded E, the lowest on the scale the police use to grade accuracy.

It was, said the coroner, "certainly a very poor quality indeed" and DCI Foote told the inquest "I had no information on which I could have arrested Mark Duggan."

But, according to the coroner, there was "very strong evidence" that on 4 August 2011 Mark Duggan, being followed by police, collected a gun from a man called Kevin Hutchinson-Foster.

Hutchinson-Foster was a north London "quartermaster" who stored guns for gangsters, and in January last year a jury convicted him of supplying Mark Duggan with the gun found at the scene of the killing in Ferry Lane.

Moments before his death, Mark Duggan phoned his brother Marlon to tell him that he was on his way to the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham.

The boys had grown up together on the estate - Mark was four in 1985 when "The Farm" exploded in riots following long-running tensions between the police and members of the mainly black community.

Seconds after the phone call Mark Duggan was dead, and two days later Tottenham was once more in flames.

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