Man, 49, shot dead by Sussex Police identified

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Michael Fitzpatrick
Image caption,
Mr Fitzpatrick was wanted in connection with several armed robberies in Sussex

A man shot dead by police in the centre of Brighton had a previous conviction for conspiracy to murder a woman in Kent, it has emerged.

Michael Fitzpatrick, 49, was shot by officers in Rock Place, in the Kemptown area, just after 1300 GMT on Thursday.

Police said Mr Fitzpatrick was wanted in connection with several armed robberies in Sussex in recent months.

BBC South East Today has also learned he admitted conspiring to kill 44-year-old Diana Goldsmith.

Ms Goldsmith disappeared from her home in Sevenoaks in 1995.

Her body was found buried in the garden of a house in Bromley, south-east London, in March 1997.

Black handgun

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is carrying out an investigation into the police shooting.

Investigators said armed officers were deployed as part of a pre-planned operation.

A force spokesman said Mr Fitzpatrick was wanted in connection with armed robberies at post offices in Burgess Hill on 14 December and 24 January, and an attempted robbery at Santander bank in Burgess Hill on 21 January.

Detectives were also looking at whether Mr Fitzpatrick was linked to a series of post office robberies in Brighton and Hove between September and January last year.

Supt Steve Whitton, of Sussex Police, said: "We attended the address in order to locate a man who was wanted in connection with these robberies."

A firearm, believed to be a black handgun not used by police, was found near to Mr Fitzpatrick's body.

It is being examined to find out whether it was real or imitation and whether it had been fired.

House-to-house inquiries

One witness reported hearing two gunshots ring out before police tried to revive the dying man.

He was pronounced dead a short time later at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

A post-mortem examination carried out on Friday evening found Mr Fitzpatrick died of gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.

The IPCC said its investigators were currently undertaking house-to-house inquiries to try to identify any witnesses to the incident.

It urged anyone who witnessed the shooting to come forward.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place later.

An inquest is due to be opened and adjourned at Brighton and Hove Coroner's Court at a date to be confirmed, the IPCC said in a statement.

Officers involved in the incident have been taken off firearms duties for 28 days, the force added.

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