The inquest into the death of Mark Duggan

The inquest into the death of Mark Duggan

Tag: Edward Brown QC

Ashley Underwood QC reports that anonymous note claiming that Duggan was set up was sent to Duggan family and Metropolitan Police Commissioner

The Independent newspaper has reported that on Tuesday the 17th September, Ashley Underwood QC, counsel to the inquest, told the jury that the an anonymous note that was sent last year to a number of people including Mr Duggan’s family and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

In the note it is claimed that a police informant had told his handler that he could persuade Mr Duggan to pick up the gun, allowing officers to arrest him.

Mr Underwood said: “The letter goes on to say that [arrest] was bound to lead to Mr Duggan being shot dead because the letter suggests that anything less than that would have led to the informant being exposed.”

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Mark Duggan: his shooting and the circumstances surrounding it

Introduction

On the 4th August 2011 Mark Duggan, a man from Tottenham, north London, was shot dead by a police officer on Ferry Lane in east Tottenham. Duggan was shot twice at 6.15pm and declared dead at 6.41pm. The purpose of this article is to collate and review information available on the circumstances surrounding the shooting, including the events leading up to the shooting, what occurred during the time of the shooting, and what took place between the shooting and Duggan being declared dead.

Why the circumstances leading to the death of Mark Duggan are of public interest

Understanding the circumstances surrounding the death of Mark Duggan is of public interest for two reasons.

First, police officers facing stress, fear and pressure, with considerable power and legal rights to use physical force, violence and firerarms, are likely, from time to time, to cross the line between crime prevention and criminal activity, using the latter to achieve either the former or criminal objectives. It is said that power corrupts, and the police force, as much as bankers, governments, soldiers and any other people, provided with immense power, have proven themselves to be courruptible. Given that the stability of public life requires a police force, who confine their behaviour to parameters laid down in law, and given the temptations of the police to deviate from these parameters, there is a strong public interest in continual monitoring and questioning of police behaviour. Never is this public interest so obvious as when a man is shot down dead by the police. On such occasions the implementation of a rigorous and transparent inquiry into the detail of what occurred, why it occurred, whether it was lawful are all necessary.

A second reason for public interest in the circumstances surrounding the death of Mark Duggan is that the killing was said to have sparked off the England riots of 2011. During the rioting people were killed, hospitalised and burned out of their homes, businesses and property were looted, burned and destroyed. Given the public interest in preventing the reoccurance of such destructive action and given the perception that these actions was sparked by the killing of Duggan, a proper understanding of the circumstances surrounding the shooting is key to understanding what, if anything, the police can do to stop riots being sparked in the future.

Key sources of information

This review draws on two types of information.

First, the review draws on statements from people who claim to have witnessed some part of the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mark Duggan. This includes statements from people who claim to have been onlookers, provided to the national press or in the trial and retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster. Kevin Hutchinson-Foster was tried in September 2012 and then in January 2013 for supplying Mark Duggan with a gun fifteen minutes before Duggan was shot dead. The review also draws on statements from people who claim to have been directly involved in the apprehension and shooting of Duggan, provided in the trial and retrial of Kevin Huthcinson-Foster and to a London Metropolitan Police review of events leading up to the August 2011 London riots, published in February 2012. People who claim to have been directly involved include armed police officers, an armed police officer who claimed to have shot two bullets into Duggan and a taxi driver in whose vehicle Duggan was travelling shortly before he was shot. Of those who provided witness statements some were named. Others were provided with false names or monikers or not named at all, presumably to protect their anonymity.

The second type of information used in this review is findings and interpretation of findings from forensic analyses of the body of Mark Duggan and of artefacts found at the scene of the killing. Information from forensic tests have been published by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Interpretation of findings have been provided by journalists and forensic experts in the trial and retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster.

The absence of video evidence

It is worth pointing out that there is no video evidence of the circumstances immediately before and during the shooting of Mark Duggan. The time that it took for the situation on Ferry Lane, the street on which Mark Duggan was shot, to turn from a normal day to the scene of a street shooting was a matter of seconds. It is quite likely that in this time no-one had the wherewithal to realise what was happening, to get a camera out and start filming. There is however some video evidence of the scene in the aftermath of Mark Duggan’s shooting, which was obtained by the BBC.

The possibility of footage yet to be put into the public domain

It is possible that there is more video footage, which has yet to be put into the public domain. One police officer, who was on the scene of the killing at the time the killing took place claims to have seen a group of bystanders filming the scene with mobile phones, some minutes after the shooting. If the bystanders were filming it would have been different footage to that received by the BBC, which was filmed from a height far above that of a person standing on a pavement. The fact that the BBC footage came to light a good six months after the killing of Mark Duggan, and the fact that a police officer claims to have seen a group of people filming raises the possibility of new footage being made available some time in the future, possibly after the IPCC have arrived at their conclusions, and after the police have provided witness statements.

The IPCC investigation

The cirucmstances leading up to and during the death of Mark Duggan is a subject, which at the time of writing, February 2013, is the focus of the Independent Police Complaints Commission [IPCC], an organisation part of whose remit is to investigate killings carried out by the police. The IPCC decided to investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mark Duggan, on the evening of Mark Duggan’s shooting, at 7.20pm to be precise, as soon as they had been informed of the event by the London Metropolitan Police. At the time of writing the IPCC have yet to report back their findings and it is not clear when they intend to report back.

The inquest into the killing of Mark Duggan

An inquest into the killing of Mark Duggan has also been planned. One of the questions the inquest will seek to answer is whether the killing of Mark Duggan was lawful or unlawful. It should be noted that if the inquest finds the killing was unlawful it does not have the power to convict anyone of the unlawful killing. To date the inquest has not started. There are two reasons for this. The first relates to the fact that if police investigations or criminal trials related to a police killing are planned to take place, an inquest cannot take place until those investigations and trials have been completed. Following the killing of Mark Duggan, the Crown Prosecution Service prepared a criminal trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, a man the CPS accused of supplying a handgun to Mark Duggan, fifteen minutes before the killing of Mark Duggan. Because this trial was related to the killing of Mark Duggan the inquest had to be delayed until the trial had been completed. The first trial took place before a jury at Snaresbrook Court in September 2012. At the end of the trial the jury failed to reach a verdict and a retrial was ordered for January 2013. The jury in the January 2013 trial, held at the Old Bailey, found Hutchinson-Foster guilty. A second reason for the inquest not yet starting is that the IPCC has not being willing to hand over information it has gathered as part of its investigation into the killing of Mark Duggan, until its investigation is complete. To date the IPCC has not completed its investigation and it is not clear when the investigation will be completed.

The tendancy of people to reach a conclusion on the lawfulness of the killing of Mark Duggan

Conclusions have been drawn about what happened during the shooting of Mark Duggan, even though the IPCC has not yet concluded its investigation and an inquest has not yet taken place. Some claim Duggan was unlawfully killed, others believe police accounts that Duggan was intending to shoot police officers moments before he was shot dead. The purpose of this article is to review information on the circumstances surrounding the killing of Duggan for those with an interest in the theories. Although this article draws a conclusion on what happened, its conclusions are severely limited. Future articles will review the evidence supporting and disproving the various theories explaning why Duggan was shot dead. Please email ravishlondon (gmail address) to be informed when new articles are posted.

Structure of this article

This article starts by looking at how officers from London Metropolitan Police were tracking the movements of Mark Duggan in the days leading up to the shooting, and describes what occurred in the hours leading up to the police deciding to apprehend Mark Duggan on Ferry Lane. Next it explores what occurred in the moments after the people carrier, in which Duggan had been travelling in, had been bought to a stop by police officers. In particular the review looks at what was shouted by the police, the direction in which Duggan turned and faced, whether he moved and ran, whether he moved towards or away from police offiers and whether he was shaping to use a gun. It then looks at what happened in the period during which Mark Duggan was shot, reviewing who shot Duggan, where the person who shot Duggan was standing when he shot Duggan, how many bullets were fired, how long it took for the bullets to be fired and how Duggan and other officers responded when the shots were fired. Finally it looks at what happened in the period between Duggan being shot and Duggan being declared dead.

Referencing

Because the purpose of this article is to provide the reader with direct access to sources of publically available evidence, wherever this article draws upon a source available on the internet, a hyperlink will be embedded within the text, which if clicked will transport the reader to the original source. Where the work drawn upon cannot be accessed on the internet an explicit reference is provided either in the text and/or at the end of the text in a references section.

Police officers track and apprehend Mark Duggan

In early August 2011 thirty-one London Metropolitan Police officers took part in an operation to apprehend and arrest Mark Duggan, a man in his twenties from Tottenham, north London. The operation involved several officers working for Trident, a police unit dedicated to preventing shootings, part of whose work involves the seizure of fire arms. The operation also included a convoy of armed officers, from a unit known as CO19 and armed surveillance officers from a unit known as SCD11.

The operation to track the movement of Mark Duggan began at least one day before the day Duggan was shot dead. Reports in the Huffington Post and the Guardian suggest officers started tracking the movements of Mark Duggan on Wednesday the 3rd August.

The Daily Telegraph claims Duggan had been under surveillance by motorcycle teams for several days prior to the 4th August. The paper reported that, ‘Duggan was under police surveillance because officers believed he was planning a tit-for-tat murder in revenge for the death of his cousin Kelvin Easton, who was stabbed in a London nightclub in March 2011’. The BBC have since reported that officers from Operation Trident believed Duggan to be ‘a senior member of the Tottenham-based Star Gang, who wanted to kill a member of a rival gang based in Hackney thought to be responsible for 23-year-old Easton’s death.

For the police, matters reached a critical point some time before or during the afternoon of the day of Mark Duggan’s shooting, when they ‘received intelligence that Mark Duggan was planning to take possession of a firearm’. That afternoon Trident officers ensconced in unmarked police vehicles tracked Duggan’s movements from Micawber Court, Windsor Terrace in Hoxton, east London. Here they claim to have witnessed Duggan getting into the back seat of a taxi, a silver Toyota people carrier.

According to The Sun Semone Wilson, the mother of three of Duggan’s children, claimed that at about 5 o’clock she talked to Duggan on the phone, during which time Duggan was in a taxi cab, and informed Wilson that he had spotted a police car following him. It is not clear where the cab, in which Duggan was at this time, but it is likely given the time, that it was in Hoxton.

As the people carrier in which Duggan was travelling moved off from Hoxton officers tracked its movements to Leyton. In Leyton Duggan was said to have asked the driver of the people carrier to stop outside a school, thought by The Guardian-Series to be St Joseph’s Catholic Primary. Duggan was said to have exited the vehicle at which point he was said to have been met by an associate, Kevin Hutchinson-Foster. Duggan was said to have taken ownership of a shoebox handed to him by Hutchinson-FosterIt has been said that after Duggan took ownership of the gun he returned to the people carrier, talked “laughingly” with the driver, got into the people carrier and was driven towards Ferry Lane, south east Tottenham to, apparently, meet his girlfriend, Semone WilsonThe unmarked police cars of Operation Trident followed. At the same time the police drew a conclusion that the box handed to Duggan contained a handgun and that Duggan had taken ownership of the box with the intention of avenging the murder of his relative Kelvin EastonPolice officers therefore concluded that the situation had developed into a “a crime in action”.

Map of three locations which Mark Duggan was alleged to have been in, on the 4th August 2011.

On the way to Ferry Lane it seems Duggan cottoned on to the fact that he was being followed. Semone Wilson was reported by the Guardian to have said, “At about 6pm he sent out a message on his BlackBerry saying ‘The Feds are following me’, and that’s it. That’s the last time anyone heard from him.” Semone Wilson was reported to have said, “I kept phoning and phoning to find out where he was. He wasn’t answering. However in another article, also written by the Guardian it was reported that at 6.05pm that Duggan sent a BlackBerry messenger stating that “Trident have jammed me”.

With the police having concluded that the situation had developed into a “a crime in action”, one involving a handgun, twelve armed police officers were dispatched from a surveillance station in Wood Green. Travelling in a convoy of four cars the officers were tasked with the role of intercepting and arresting Duggan. The Daily Telegraph reported that, ‘At 6pm the convoy was given a “code Amber” order meaning there was enough intelligence to arrest Duggan.

The convoy of officers was said to have within sight of the people carrier as it reached Ferry Lane, at which point an order was received to apprehend and arrest Duggan. Reports on the wording of the order vary. According to the Daily Telegraph a “state red” signal was provided together with the order “doors, doors”, which meant the police should leave their vehicle and take immediate action to arrest Duggan. Another account, provided by the Guardian in September 2012 posits that officers received the order to “attack, attack, attack”. By December 2012, the Guardian article had been amended such that the order given was said to have been ‘strike, strike, strike’ (there is no recognition of this ammendment in the ammended article, or any explanation for why such an ammendment was necessary).

With the convoy of officers having received an order to apprehend Mark Duggan several vehicles were said to have approached the people carrier from behind, at high speed and ‘dangerously’. The driver of the people carrier explained how he responded to this approach by moving his people carrier to a stop by the footpath on the Ferry Lane bridge fifty yards from Tottenham Hale tube station. As the people carrier stopped four unmarked police cars carrying armed officers from unit CO19 were said to have pulled up close by, some to the right of the people carrier and some behind it. The driver of the people carrier claimed that no sooner had the vehicles come to a stop than police officers got out of the vehicles ‘very quickly.. carrying guns in their hands’the door of his people carrier was slid open and Mark Duggan exited the vehicle.

What was shouted to Mark Duggan as he exited the people carrier

Accounts of what was shouted to Duggan as he exited the people carrier vary, and include Duggan being told to ‘stand still’‘put it down’ and ‘stop’One account provided during the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster by a police officer, known to the court as W70, posits that W70, along with other officers, shouted, ‘armed police, stand still’ to Duggan more than once. This testimony was corroborated by another armed officer, who gave evidence to the court, who claimed to have been on the scene, to have shot Duggan twice and was known as V53However the accounts of W70 and V53 contrast with the account provided by an anonymous witness, who was reported by the BBC to have said that at the moment Duggan exited the car a police officer shouted ‘Put it down!’ twice. Another account reported on by the Daily Telegraph provided by someone who was said to have claimed to have been an eye witness, is that a police officer had shouted to Duggan to stop a couple of times.

Duggan’s movements as he exited the vehicle

Direction in which Duggan was facing or heading when he exited the vehicle

Witness statements consistently state that Duggan exited the people carrier on the pavement side of the vehicle. Assuming these witness statements are correct Duggan would have had the following five options on where to face or head next: turn right and face westwards towards Tottenham Hale Station, turn left and face eastwards towards Walthamstow, move forwards across the footpath and attempt to jump the railings which border the footpath, face forwards without moving or turn around and face the people carrier. This section takes each of these options and looks at the evidence for each possibility.

Turn left facing eastwards towards Walthamstow

There are several pieces of information which suggest Duggan turned left as he exited the people carrier. For example, a BBC news report on a statement provided by police officer V53 in the January 2013 retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster states that ‘V53’ described a situation similar to one ‘in which Mr Duggan had got out of a minicab and was heading towards a wall beside the road’. If Duggan had headed towards a wall beside the road, Duggan would have headed in an easterly direction, to his left, as photographs of the position of the people carrier in the aftermath of the killing demonstrate the wall was to the left and east of the people carrier. Unfortunately the BBC’s use of the phrase ‘described a statement similar to’ to describe what officer V53 said admits the possibility that V53 may have described a situation which was quite different to the one reported in the article and thus raises serious doubts over wat was said and thereore whether Duggan did actually head towards the wall.

The notion that Duggan turned to his left as he got out of the people carrier is also suggested when one pieces several other bits of information together. These pieces include statements given by police officers V53 and W70 in the September 2012 trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster. Between them the two officers described how Duggan on exiting the carrier, ran towards officer W70 and attempted to engage his gun and was subsequently shot. All of this was said to have happened within the space of two seconds. The accounts from V53 and W70 suggest that Duggan, if he had turned to face officers, must have also turned to face the direction of the location in which the vehicles had come to a stop, for if Duggan was shot within two seconds of the vehicles coming to a stop, the police officers who Duggan had turned towards would not have had time to move from where their vehicles had come to rest. According to the driver of the people carrier police cars stopped behind the people carrier and to the right of the people carrier. Given that Duggan was said to have turned to face police officers, and that he could not have turned to face the officers who were positioned to the right of the people carriers, on the road, the only direction Duggan could have turned to face officers was to his left, to the officers and vehicles stationed behind the people carrier.

The notion that Mark Duggan turned left and eastwards after exiting the people carrier is also suggested but by no means proven by the fact that the driver of the people carrier reported having been dragged from his driver’s seat, quickly after the shooting, dropped to the ground at the rear of the car, from where he was said to have seen Duggan laid on the floor. That Duggan was located towards the rear of the people carrier suggests Duggan was shot in that location, which Duggan would have needed to have turned left to get to, having exited the people carrier.

Finally a BBC news report on a statement made by Stuart Denney QC in the trial of of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster suggests that police officer V53 was stood to the left of Duggan as Duggan exited the people carrier and if we accept the truth of V53’s account that Duggan had pointed his gun at V53 then we can conclude that Duggan must have turned left as he exited the people carrier.

Turn right facing westwards towards Tottenham Hale

There is however some evidence to suggest Duggan may have turned right as he exited the people carrier. It has been suggested by witnesses in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, and in particular by firearms officer R31 that Duggan attempted to run away from police officers after having exited the people carrier. If this is true and if as the driver of the people carrier said, police vehicles stopped behind and to the right of the people carrier, and if as W31 suggested officers would not have had time to move to the front of the people carrier in the time taken between the vehicles coming to a stop and Duggan being shot, then Duggan would have turned towards the front of the vehicle, to his right.

More evidence suggesting Duggan faced towards the right comes from piecing together two separate bits of information. First, the driver of the people carrier said he heard ‘firing from the front’Second the bullet which hit Duggan’s chest went through the front of Duggan’s chest. These facts would be consistent with an account whereby officers had managed to get into a shooting position on the bonnet of the people carrier, from where they shot Duggan, who had turned right, the bullet entering the front part of Duggan’s chest and exiting at the back on the left hand side.

Face forwards and head towards the railings

The idea that Duggan faced straightforwards and headed towards the railings can be ruled out. None of the witness accounts provided in the September 2012 trial and January 2013 retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster and provided anonymously to news agencies refer to Duggan attempting to jump metal railings.

Face forwards and stand still

There is no evidence to suggest Duggan exited the people carrier and then stood still. Accounts provided by police officers and the driver of the people carrier suggest Duggan had attempted some kind of movement away from the people carrier.

Turn around to face the people carrier

There is evidence to suggest Duggan turned to face the people carrier as he exited the people carrier. The BBC reported that in the retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster the court heard that the fatal shot to Duggan’s chest entered the front right hand side of his chest and exited the back of his chest on the left hand side. This suggests Duggan was stood at an angle to the officer who shot him, when he was shot, so the officer would have been standing to the right of Duggan and slightly to the front. If this is the case, and if we accept that police officers must have shot Duggan from behind the people carrier, i.e. to Duggan’s left, Duggan may well have been facing the people carrier, with his body turned slightly to the right, at the time he was shot.

Summary

In summary there is insufficient evidence to conclude with any certainty on the direction which Duggan faced and/or headed towards having exited the people carrier. None of the reviews that have been carried out on the events leading up to the shooting of Duggan and none of the statements from witnesses who claim to have observed or participated in the events, explicitly address the question of the direction in which Duggan faced or headed after he exited the people carrier. Furthermore whilst there is some evidence, which either by itself, or when pieced together with other evidence, suggests Duggan moved in a particular direction, the only options that can be ruled out are Duggan facing forward but standing still or heading towards the railings bordering the pavement.

Whether Duggan faced toward or away from police officers after he exited the people carrier

Whilst some accounts claim Duggan headed towards police officers on exiting the people carrier others suggest he moved away from police officers. Armed police officer W70 suggested Duggan was running towards him at the time he was shot, stating, “If you imagine a rugby match and a rugby tackle from five metres it was just two people closing in on each other very fast…at the speed at which two men run”. Officer V53, who claims to have shot Mark Duggan also suggested Duggan faced police officers as he exited the people carrier, stating that after Dugggan had been shot for the first time Duggan pointed a gun he was holding in his right hand in the direction of officer V53. However, whilst the accounts of V53 and W70 suggest Duggan was facing and heading towards police officers after he exited the people carrier, firearms officer R31 reported that Duggan’s first movement was to escape, and to try to run ‘away’ from police officers. Further suggestion that Duggan may not have headed in the direction of police officers after exiting the vehicle comes from a ballistic expert, who provided analysis on the bullet wounds in the body of Mark Duggan, during the retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster in January 2013. The ballistics expert was said by Court News UK to have claimed that, “Gunshot wounds on Mark Duggan’s body show he was not facing the armed policeman who shot him…. An entry hole on his chest was 10 inches higher than an exit wound on his back, which, taken with the angle of another bullet wound on his upper-right arm, showed he was not head-on to the officer.

Whether Duggan, having exited the cab, broke into a run when he exited the vehicle

Whilst some accounts claim Duggan broke into a run after exiting the people carrier, there is sufficient evidence to question whether Duggan had had the time to break into a run, before being shot. In the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster armed police officer W70firearms officer R31and the driver of the people carrier claim to have seen Duggan running after he exited the people carrier. However a number of witness statements raise questions about whether Duggan had sufficient time and had emerged from the people carrier in a way consistent with breaking into a run. These statements include thatthe time taken between the vehicles coming to a stop and Duggan being shot was ‘under two seconds’ and that on exiting the people carrier Duggan had taken a couple of steps and exited pivoting in a stooped position before being shot.

Whether Mark Duggan had attempted to deploy a gun on exiting the people carrier

This section is about whether Duggan attempted to deploy a handgun as he exited the people carrier, not whether he had a gun in his possession at the point he exited the people carrier. Accounts of whether Duggan attempted to deploy a gun on exiting the people carrier vary, some witnesses stating that Duggan clearly tried to deploy a gun, some recalling that Duggan did not attempt to deploy a gun and some saying that they did not see Duggan attempt to deploy a handgun. Some witnesses claimed Duggan was carrying a gun and acting as if intending to use it. Police officer V53, who claimed to have shot Duggan, stated that Duggan exited the taxi at speed, with a gun in his hand and shaped to shoot holding a gun at the level of his stomach and then moving the gun barrel away from his body into the “aim position”. Officer V53 stated that he then shot Duggan in the chest after which Duggan made a “flinching movement” but continued to hold the gun in his right hand and point it in the direction of V53The proposition that Duggan had a gun in his hand as he exited the vehicle was echoed in the testimony of another armed officer, W70. W70 was reported by the Daily Telegraph to have said that as Mark Duggan exited the people carrier, “I saw the subject pivot out of his door and as he pivoted out of the door he did so in a a stooped position. His right hand was crossed across his body with his hand inside his left hand side of his jacket toward his waist band… From his body position it appeared his left hand was either holding the lower lapell part of his jacket or in the pocket, I can’t recall exactly. It very much appeared he was concealing something in his right hand with that side of the jacket. He had effectively overlapped the left hand part of his jacket over his right hand… At that same time he has very quickly drawn out his right hand from the left hand side of his waist band and inside his jacket, his left side of his jacket was wrapped over that, and he was holding a self loading pistol or a hand gun…” According to the Daily Telegraph police officer W70 went on to explain how Duggan then drew up his right hand out of his jacket.

Whilst the accounts of police officers V53 and W70 suggest Duggan had attempted to deploy a gun as he exited the people carrier other people, a firearms officer from the London Metropolitan Police, who gave evidence in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, known to the court as R31, reported Duggan’s first movement was to escape rather than aim a gun at police officers. Furthermore, in contrast to the accounts provided by V53 and W70 the driver of the people carrier in which Duggan had been travelling, who also gave evidence in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, reported that he had not seen Duggan carrying a weapon as he exited the people carrier and had not seen Duggan raise his arm to point at officers.

Whether Mark Duggan had a gun in his hand as he exited the people carrier

Accounts of what, if anything, Duggan was carrying in his hand as he exited the people carrier vary. Some claimed Duggan was carrying a gun, some claimed Duggan did not have a gun in his hand and some said they could not see what, if anything, Duggan was carrying as he exited the vehicle. Police officer V53, who claimed to have shot Duggan, stated that Duggan exited the taxi at speed, with a gun in his hand“. This was echoed in the testimony of another armed officer, W70, as reported by the Daily Telegraph.

Other witnesses were not able to verify that Duggan had had a gun in his hand. A firearms officer from the London Metropolitan Police, who gave evidence in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, known to the court as R31 reported that he could ‘not see whether Duggan was holding anything in his hands because he had his back slightly to him and was wearing a bulky coat’. The driver of the people carrier in which Duggan had been travelling, who also gave evidence in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, reported that he had not seen Duggan carrying a weapon as he exited the people carrier. A statement provided by armed officer W70 casts doubt on the claim that Duggan had been holding a gun. At one point during the testimony that he gave in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster W70 was said to have made reference to ‘whatever is in [Duggan’s] hand’ suggesting that W70 may not have been entirely sure about what Duggan was carrying as he exited the vehicle. Further doubt can be cast on W70‘s claim that Duggan had been holding a gun by the fact that W70’s initial written report on the shooting, what is known as a ‘short-form’ report, failed to mention Duggan raising a gun.

The time taken to shoot Duggan from the moment the vehicles stopped

It has been suggested that the time between the vehicles coming to a stop on Ferry Lane and Duggan being shot was less than two seconds. In the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster armed police officer W70, who explained how Duggan fell into his arms after being shot a second time, suggested to the court that, “From the moment the vehicle stopped to the moment I was holding Mr Duggan’s wrists [after which Duggan had been shot twice] was certainly under two seconds.” This means that the time between the vehicles coming to a stop and the bullets being discharged was less than two seconds. This also means that the police officer, who shot Mark Duggan, would have taken less than two seconds to make his mind up about shooting Mark Duggan, after having exited the police vehicle he was travelling in.

How many shots were fired?

The number of shots that witnesses to the shooting of Mark Duggan recall seeing or hearing include twothree and four.

Those who claim to have heard two shots include Atocha Bella, who according to the Daily Telegraph, owned a storage facility close the scene of the shooting. According to the Telegraph Bella said he heard two gunshots in quick succession at around 6.10pm as he walked to the local petrol station to buy cigarettes. Bella was reported to have said “When I heard the gunshots I ran to the petrol station, I was scared… The shots were one after the other. After that there weren’t any more.”

Those who claim to have fired three shots include ‘residents’ that the Daily Mail claims to have spoken to.

Those who claim to have heard four shots fired include local residents spoken to by the Voice and someone who claimed to have been a witness, who had spoken to David Akinsanya, who lived locally and came upon the scene moments after the incident, and who in turn had spoken to the Daily Mail.

Police officer shot

During the shooting of Mark Duggan a police officer was reported to have been shot, the bullet hitting the officer in his MPS radioThe Guardian reported that the officer, on being shot, shouted: “I’m hit, I’m hit”‘. It was also reported, in the September 2012 trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, that shortly after being shot the officer was attended to by a colleague. After having been attended to by another officer the shot officer was reported to have been transported to Homerton Hospital. There is no information on the identity of the police officer who was shot. Neither is there substantive evidence on how this officer came to be shot and whether the bullet, which hit him, was one of the two bullets which had originally hit Mark Duggan. According to The Guardian the IPCC have ‘admitted the bullet was in fact most likely a ricochet from one fired by a police officer’ however IPCC speculation is not sufficient to count as conclusive proof.

Whether Mark Duggan was on his feet when he was shot

Accounts of whether Mark Duggan was on his feet when he was shot vary. Police officers V53, W70 and R31 reported, in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, that Duggan was on his feet when police officers fired the first bullet. However the Evening Standard reported that a person, who had claimed to have witnessed the shooting, but whose name was not provided, had seen police shoot Duggan whilst Duggan was pinned down to the ground. A further possibility is that police officers shot Mark Duggan when Duggan was in the people carrier. This scenario is supported although not conclusively proved by a witness statement provided in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, made by a woman known as Miss J who reported that after hearing two gunshots she emerged from her home to see a police officer dragging a body from the back of a minicab and placing it beside some railings. Whilst the body she saw being dragged to the back of the minicab may have been the body of Mark Duggan, it may also have been the body of the driver, who still alive, was said to have been pulled from the vehicle by his arm and dropped on the ground near the rear tyres of the car.

The positioning of the police officer who shot Mark Duggan when he fired the bullets

Introduction

If we do accept the accounts provided by armed officers W70 and V53 that Mark Duggan had been on his feet, stood on the pavement by the side of the people carrier, when shot, what remains unclear is the positioning of the police officer who shot Mark Duggan, at the time Duggan was shot. Possible positions include behind the boot of the people carrier, close to the bonet of the people carrier, or from the parkland on the other side of the metal railings bordering the pavement. This section takes each of these options and looks at the evidence for each possibility.

Police officer was located behind the people carrier on the pavement when he shot Mark Duggan dead.

There are several pieces of information, which in themselves or when pieced together, suggest the police officer was stood behind the people carrier, to the east of Duggan, at the time he shot Duggan.

A BBC news report on a statement made by Stuart Denney QC in the trial of of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster suggests that police officer V53 was stood to the left of Duggan as Duggan exited the people carrier. If this is true and if Duggan got out of the people carrier face first, then V53 would have been positioned behind the people carrier, to the east of Duggan.

Further indication that V53 was positioned behind the people carrier and on the pavement comes from piecing together several bits of information. These pieces of information include statements given by police officers V53 and W70 in the September 2012 trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster. Between them the two officers described how Duggan, on exiting the carrier, ran towards officer W70, attempted to engage his gun and was subsequently shot. All of this was said to have happened within two seconds of the police vehicles and people carrier coming to a stop on Ferry Lane. This information by itself does not tell us the direction the police officer was positioned in at the point he shot Duggan. However it does tell us that the officer must have shot Duggan from close to where his vehicle came to rest, because given the speed of the shooting, he would not have had time to move away from that spot. According to the driver of the people carrier police cars stopped behind the people carrier and to the right of the people carrier. This means there is a distinct possibility that officers shot Duggan from behind the people carrier.

Police officer was located on the right hand side of the people carrier, at the front

There is some evidence to suggest the police officer was located on the bonet of the people carrier, when he shot Duggan. The driver of the people carrier said he heard ‘firing from the front’ suggesting, although by no means proving, that the offier who shot Duggan was positioned in front of the people carrier, possibly behind the bonet of the people carrier, at the time Duggan was shot dead. This would explain R31’s account that Duggan had tried to run away from police officers. It is possible that when Duggan exited the people carrier the majority of officers would have been to his left. However as Duggan ran away from these officers it is possible that he ran towards officers, who had exited a vehicle, which had stopped next to the people carrier on the road, and who had positioned themselves in a north-westerly position, on the bonet of the people carrier. This would also explain the fact that the fatal shot to the chest entered the front right hand side of Duggan’s chest and exited the back of Mark Duggan on the left hand side. If the police officer who shot Duggan had been positioned on the bonet, and was stood forward of Duggan as Duggan tried to run, the front part of the right handside of Duggan’s chest could have been exposed to the gunman, meaning that the bullet would have moved from right to left as it passed from front to back. The idea that Duggan was shot by a police officer located towards the front of the people carrier is also consistent with the fact that during the shooting a police bullet lodged in the MPS radio of another police officer There is no substantive evidence on how this officer came to be shot and whether the bullet, which hit him, was a bullet which had originally hit Mark Duggan. However the fact that a bullet from one police officer was able to damage the radio of another suggests that officers were stood either side of Duggan when he was shot. The police officer who fired from the bonet may have sent a bullet in the direction of the police officer whose radio was hit, who may have been stood behind the people carrier on the pavement.

Police officer was located behind the railings

Another possibility is that the officer who shot Duggan, shot him from behind the railings. This is unlikely given that Duggan was said to have been shot within two seconds of the vehicles coming to a stop. It would have taken more than two seconds for an officer to have run from his vehicle to behind the railings.

Summary

In summary there is insufficient evidence to conclude with any certainty on the position of the police officer who shot Mark Duggan, the moment he fired the bullets at Mark Duggan. None of the reviews that have been carried out on the events leading up to the shooting of Duggan and none of the statements from witnesses who claim to have observed or participated in the events, explicitly address the question of the position of the police officer who shot Mark Duggan, at the moment the bullets were fired. Furthermore whilst there is some evidence, which either by itself, or when pieced together with other evidence, implies the location of the officer who shot Duggan, the only option that can be ruled out is the officer shooting Duggan from behind the railings.

What happened during and after the shooting of Mark Duggan?

Mark Duggan was reported to have been shot twice by an officer using an mp5 sub-machine gun. The first bullet was said to have passed through Duggan’s chest entering the front right hand side and exiting ‘ten inches’ lower on the left hand side of the back causing Duggan’s jacket to balloon up at the back and causing feathers from the lining of Duggan’s jacket to fly out into the airDuggan, on being shot in the chest, was said to have made a “flinching movement”. A second bullet fired shortly afterwards was said to have entered the right upper arm of Duggan and then tracked down a few centimetres under the skin, before exiting the arm and grazing the skin of the chest.

Firearms officer R31 was reported as saying that with Duggan having been hit in the chest and then in the right arm by a second bullet Duggan’s legs collapsed and and Duggan fell to his knees, to a sitting position. At the same time Duggan was said to have clutched his hands to his chest and bent forward as the feathers from his jacket fell to the floor around him.

Police officer W70, who reported having run towards Mark Duggan inbetween Mark Duggan exiting the vehicle and being shot, said that as Duggan fell to his knees, he (W70) caught hold of Duggan’s wrists and pushed Duggan back. W70 explained that having grabbed hold of Duggan’s wrists he shouted ‘Where is the gun?’ and searched Mark Duggan whilst he ‘held both wrists out in front of him’. It is worth noting an inconsistency in the account provided by W70. W70 is reported to have claimed that he ‘held both wrists out in front of [Duggan]”. However if as W70 posited W70 pushed Duggan back, on to his back, holding Duggan’s wrists ‘out’ would have pulled Duggan’s wrists behind Duggan rather than ‘in front’ of him.

W70 was said to have been assisted in his search of Mark Duggan by other officers, by one officer called V48 according to the Daily Telegraph and by twelve officers according to The Guardian. Officer W70 who was the first officer to search Mark Duggan for a gun reported that no-one managed to find a gun on Duggan’s person.

Of those officers who have stated publically that they saw Duggan hold a gun as he exited the people carrier, none have been able to provide an account of how the gun left Duggan’s person in the two second period between the police officers exiting their vehicle and police officer V53 shooting Duggan twice.

W70 reported that ‘once we had established we couldn’t find the gun on his person or in the immediate area we started first aid’. According to the IPCC, “Paramedics from London Ambulance Service (LAS) attended along with medics from the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS).

Soon after Mark Duggan had been shot a police officer was said to have entered the people carrier, where he pulled the driver from the vehicle ‘very angrily’ by his arm and dropped the driver on the ground near the rear tyres of the car. The driver was said to have been able to see Duggan with his mouth open, bleeding from the front, and the police trying to remove Duggan’s clothes. Meanwhile officer R31 went to the aid of one of his colleagues who he believed had been shot.

Moving a police car to block the view of the public

After going to the aid of his colleague R31 then moved one of the police cars between the incident and a group of bystanders who he thought were filming the scene on their mobile phones.

The finding and handling of a gun

Following R31’s movement of a police car to block to the view of by standers, and following the search of Duggan reaching a conclusion that there was no gun on his person, officer R31 described how he climbed over railings and searched in some bushes “probably two to three feet high” that were between the lampposts and a wall. R31 reported finding a black object, ‘something in the shape of a self-loading pistol that was in a sock’, in the bushes, five metres away from where Duggan had been shot.

Whilst the Guardian report that R31 claimed to have found the gun in ‘bushes’. Sky News claims that the gun was found ‘on a grass verge behind railings’. whilst the Independent reported QC Edward Brown stating in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster that the gun was found on a grass bank.

The Guardian reported, ‘R31 said he was unable to say how much time passed between when Duggan was shot and when he found the gun. During cross-examination by Stuart Denney QC, in the court case concerning the charges bought against Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, he agreed it was “some minutes”‘. R31’s account is a little odd, given that it involves him climbing railings. A view of the railings show that to get behind the railings it would be easier and less time consuming to simply walk around the railings, rather than jump over them.

The gun recovered was said by the police to have been a BBM Bruni Model 92 handgun, modified to fire 9mm bullets. R31 reported that once he had found the gun a uniformed armed response vehicle officer joined him and asked him to watch the gun while he got an exhibit bag.

According to the BBC, one eye witness in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, known to the court as Miss J, told the court she saw the police take a gun from the people carrierShe said she saw an officer emerging from the back of the minicab, holding a handgun in his upturned hand, before he wrapped it in a black cloth and put it inside an evidence bag. The woman told the court: “At the time [the police officer] came out he seemed like he’d found gold or something.”

It has also been reported that the IPCC were provided with three statements by police officers present at the scene, that a seargent had been seen ‘throwing away a gun’. Stafford Scott, a member of the Independent Police Complaints Commission Community Reference Group for the investigation into the cirucmstances surrounding the death of Mark Duggan said that the Community Reference Group was told by the IPCC commissioner ‘that at least three officers had given a statement that they had witnessed another officer, a sergeant, throwing away the gun that was later found several feet from Duggan’s body.

Time that Mark Duggan was shot

It has been suggested that Duggan was shot at 6.15pm. The Independent Police Complaints Commission was said to have reported that Duggan was shot at 6.15pm Atouch Bella, the owner of a storage facility close to the scene of the killing, was reported by the Dail Telegraph to have heard two gunshots at around 6.10pm

Mark Duggan declared dead at 6.41 pm

Having been shot in the chest and arm and pushed back on to the road by police officer W70 Mark Duggan’s life, like the August sun, faded away, on the unforgiving terrain of Ferry Lane, next to the feathers that had once lined his jacket. Attempts were made to resuscitate the Tottenham man but at 6.41pm, he was pronounced deadHe was laid to rest on the 9th September, 2011.

Location at which Mark Duggan was shot dead

Summary

This summary reviews the information available on the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mark Duggan. It would seem there are some facts we can be reasonably certain of in trying to account for what occurred. We know that at 6.15pm on the 4th August 2011 police officers bought the people carrier in which Duggan was travelling to a stop on Ferry Lane. Duggan exited the people carrier on the pavement side of the vehicle. Within two seconds of Duggan exiting the vehicle, the police had shouted something to Duggan, and a police officer had shot Duggan twice, first in the chest and then in the arm. At the same time a police officer was struck by a police issue bullet, which lodged into his MPS radio. Having been hit by two bullets Duggan fell to the floor. Meanwhile the police officer, whose radio had been hit, cried out that he had been hit. Police officers searched Duggan but were unable to find a gun, applied first aid but did not effectively resuscitate Duggan and declared Duggan dead at 6.41pm. The police officer, whose radio was hit, was attended to by another officer and taken to Homerton Hospital.

What is less clear, either because there is insufficient evidence to clarify the issue, or because the evidence that does exist is contradicted by other evidence, is what happened in between Duggan exiting the people carrier and Duggan being shot seconds later. Currently no firm conclusion can be reached on what was shouted to Duggan as he exited the vehicle, the direction in which Duggan faced or started to head once he had exited the people carrier, whether he headed towards or away from police officers, whether he broke into a run and whether he attempted to deploy a gun. Neither can a firm conclusion be reached on the position of the officer who shot Duggan, when he shot Duggan. Furthermore, whilst it is clear that police officers claim to have found a hangun in the vicinity of the location in which Duggn was shot dead, nothing is known about how the handgun reached the location it did.

Finally there are other events, which have been reported to have taken place, which we would require an alternative source to verify, given that the source of the information clearly benefits from reporting events in the way that they have. For example, police officers have provided a fairly clear account of the motives and perceptions, which led to a decision to shoot Duggan and which informed their behaviour in the events leading up to the shooting. According to officers, prior to the shooting they had suspected that Duggan would, on the 4th of August, attempt to get hold of a gun in an attempt to avenge the killing of a relative that had occurred months earlier. For this reason police decided to track Mark Duggan’s movements on the 4th of August. Police also claim to have watched Duggan taking a silver people carrier taxi to Leyton, from where he was said to be seen taking a shoebox from an associate called Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, from which point he was driven on to Ferry Lane. Police officers believed the box Duggan had received from Hutchinson-Foster had a gun in it, which was reason for them to arrest Duggan. Furthermore, the police officer, who claims to have shot Duggan twice, claims that Duggan, on exiting the people carrier, attempted to deploy a handgun. However, whilst officers are clear about the motives and perceptions, which informed their behaviour, some of their perceptions have been contradicted by witnesses, and there is little independent or documentary evidence to verify their accounts.

Other events, reported to have taken place, which we would also require an alternative source to verify, given that the source of the information clearly benefits from reporting events in that way, include the suggestion of the mother of three of Mark Duggan’s children, that before Duggan had exited the people carrier he had sent a text indicating that he was aware his movements were being tracked by police officers from Trident. They also include police officers ‘claim’ to have found a gun in the vicinity of where Duggan had been shot some minutes after the shooting.

The inquest into the death of Mark Duggan

On the 4th August 2011 Mark Duggan, a man from Tottenham, north London, was shot dead by a police officer in east Tottenham. As is the case whenever a man dies a violent death a decision was made to hold an inquest to identify when and where the death occurred, how it happened and if the death was the result of an unlawful killing. A judge, by the name of Keith Cutler, was appointed as the deputy coroner, to preside over the inquest, in January 2013. Coroners and their deputies are usually lawyers and can be doctors, but are rarely judges. However in this case it became apparent that the coroner presiding over the inquest would need to consider phone intercept information, which the police had collected and used as part of their operation to apprehend and consequently shoot Mark Duggan. A judge is the only role allowed to view such evidence and so Keith Cutler was appointed deputy coroner to ensure the inquest could consider the phone intercept evidence.

Although the inquest has yet to start, we already know about some of the circumstances leading to the death of Mark Duggan. We know on the 4th August 2011 Mark Duggan was shot dead by a police officer on Ferry Lane in east Tottenham. Duggan was shot twice at 6.15pm and declared dead at 6.41pm. Seconds before the shooting police officers bought the people carrier in which Duggan was travelling to a stop on Ferry Lane. Duggan exited the people carrier on the pavement side. Within two seconds the police shouted something to Duggan and shot him twice, in the chest and then in the arm. At the same time a police officer was struck by a police issue bullet, which lodged into his MPS radio. Having been hit by two bullets Duggan fell to the floor. Meanwhile the police officer, whose radio had been hit, cried out he had been hit. Police officers searched Duggan but were unable to find a gun, applied first aid but did not effectively resuscitate Duggan and declared Duggan dead at 6.41pm. The police officer, whose radio was hit, was attended to by another officer and taken to Homerton Hospital.

Whilst some aspects of the circumstances leading up to the shooting of Mark Duggan seem fairly clear, there is less clarity over a range of other events, which occurred before and during the shooting of Mark Duggan, either because there is insufficient evidence to clarify the issue, or because the evidence that exists conflicts. For example, currently no firm conclusion can be reached on what was shouted to Duggan as he exited the vehicle, the direction in which Duggan faced or started to head once he had exited the people carrier, whether he headed towards or away from police officers, whether he broke into a run and whether he attempted to deploy a gun. Neither can a firm conclusion be reached on the position of the officer who shot Duggan, when he shot Duggan. Furthermore, whilst it is clear that police officers claim to have found a handgun in the vicinity of the location in which Duggan was shot dead, nothing is known about how the handgun reached the location it did.

In a recent pre-inquest review meeting the key questions that the inquest will consider were outlined as follows:

The decision to transmit the inquest on the internet

In January 2013 it was reported that judicial officials were considering plans to stream the inquest live over the internet. The Guardian, however, notes that some of the inquest will not be available, including testimonies from firearm officers, who will be given anonymity and will be able to testify from behind screens.”

Reasons for delays of the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan

There are several reasons for why the inquest was not able to start earlier than two years after the shooting of Mark Duggan. The two principal reasons are the trial and retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, and the investigation of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The Criminal Trial of Kevin-Hutchinson Foster

Following the shooting of Mark Duggan the Crown Prosecution Service decided to press charges against Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, for supplying a hangun to Mark Duggan, fifteen minutes prior to Mark Duggan being shot dead. Under Section 16 of the Coroners Act 1988, where criminal proceedings are being taken with regards to issues relevant to the inquest, the inquest should be adjourned until the proceedings are concluded.Consistent with this law, a decision was made to adjourn the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan until the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster had been completed. The first trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster was held in September 2012, but the jury could not reach a verdict, and a retrial was planned for January 2013.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission Investigation into the death of Mark Duggan

A second reason for the inquest not starting until two years after the shooting of Mark Duggan was the fact of the Independent Police Complaints Comimssion’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mark Duggan. Following the death of Mark Duggan the Independent Police Complaints Commission concluded it would need to investigate the police shooting. The IPCC’s investigation has taken over a year to complete, and is planned to report back in April 2013. During the planning of the inquest it became clear the inquest would require access to information collated by the IPCC as part of its investigation. However the IPCC refused to make some 60 lever arch files available to the inquest until early 2013, which effectively meant the inquest could not start until 2013.

The reasons for the IPCC’s decision to delay handing over the 60 lever arch files until early 2013 are not completely clear. The IPCC explained in June 2012 that it would not hand the files to the inquest, becaue it felt the remaining files should be handed over all in one batch, after the investigation was completed, and that a handover of just some of the files would be dangerous. The IPCC’s rationale would suffice as a full explanation for their behaviour, if its beahviours had been consisted with its rationale. The fact is that the IPCC gave the inquest some information within the first year of the death of Mark Duggan and it handed over a substantial number of files between January 2013 and March 2013, before the investigation report was completed, and therefore, before the IPCC could be sure that the files handed over were all the files that would be in the possession of the IPCC at the end of the investigation.

The IPCC investigation has also caused a postponement to the start of the inquest because the inquest would like to view a draft or a final copy of the IPCC’s investigation report. Up to now April 2013, the IPCC has refused to make such a report available. The IPCC’s refusal includes a renegal on an agreement made with the coroner in a January 2013 pre-inquest review to submit a ‘work in progress’ copy of the report for February 2013. This renegal caused the judge presiding over the inquest to comment that the IPCC commissioner was in contempt of court. In a March 2013 pre-inquest review the IPCC agreed to submit a copy of their report to the judge for May 2013.

The IPCC investigation may cause further postponement because the investigation might produce conclusions and evidence, which leads the Crown Prosecution Service to conclude that criminal charges need to be bought against police officers. By law an inquest needs to be adjourned until criminal prosecutions relating to the subject of interest to the inquest are completed, and so, in the event of the Crown Prosecution Service pressing charges, the inquest may be postponed or adjourned.

The appointment of a judge to deal with sensitive material

It has been suggested that further delay to the inquest came about in January 2013, with the appointment of Judge Keith Cutler as the Deputy Coroner, for the judge being new to the case, needed time to familiarise himself with the relevant documentation. Certainly had the IPCC investigation not taken place then the appointment of the judge may have delayed the case, but in practice, the postponement caused by the appointment of the judge was dwarfed by the larger delay caused by the IPCC investigation.

Chronology of delays to the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan

On the 9th of August 2011, five days after Duggan was shot dead, the inquest into the killing of Duggan opened at North London Coroners Court, in Wood Street, High Barnet. During the meeting it was announced that the inquest would be adjourned until 12th December 2011. A pre-inquest meeting was held on the 12th December 2011 at the North London’s Coroners Court in Barnet during which time it was announced that the inquest would be held in September 2012. However an inquest was not started in September 2012, instead a pre-inquest hearing was held on October 23rd 2012, during which time it was announced the inquiry would begin in January 2013 despite Edward Brown QC acting for the Crown Prosecution Service asking a delay until after the retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, planned for January 2013.


Statement given by Duggan’s family after the October 2012 pre-inquest review meeting.

On January 9th 2013 it was announced that Judge Keith Cutler would be the assistant deputy coroner, and that he would hold a pre-inquest hearing, rather than start the inquest, on the January 28th at North London Coroner’s Court. On the 28th Judge Cutler announced the inquest would begin in September 2013 with a jury, at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London. A pre-inquest hearing was provisionally scheduled for March 28th at the same court. However on the 18th February 2013 the government website on the inquest into the killing of Mark Duggan reported that a pre-inquest meeting would be held on the 25th of March. On the 25th at the pre-inquest review, the Deputy Coroner noted the IPCC would send their draft report to the inquest for the 13th May and there would be a further pre-inquest review on the 15th July. He announced the inquest would start on the 16th September 2013.

People with a ‘proper interest’ in the Mark Duggan inquest

Persons, recognised by Judge Cutler as having a ‘proper interest’ in the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan are the Duggan family, Ms Semone Wilson; Ms Precious Douaihy; Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC); Metropolitan Police Service (MPS); Officers Q63, R31, R68, V48, V53, V59, V72, W39, W42, W55, W56 and W70; Officer Z51; and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

Ms Semone Wilson is the mother of three of Mark Duggan’s children, and was said to be engaged to Mark Duggan at the time of the killing.

Ms Precious Douaihy was made the subject of a news article by The Sun newspaper on August 13th 2011, eight days after the shooting of Mark Duggan, in which The Sun claimed that Mark Duggan had had an affair with Ms Precious Douaihy.

Officers Q63, R31, R68, V48, V53, V59, V72, W39, W42, W55, W56 and W70 are all likely to have had roles in the apprehension or shooting of Mark Duggan or management of the scene of the killing. In the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster officer V53 claimed he shot the bullet, which entered Mark Duggan’s chest, and which was said to have proven fatal. Officer W70 claimed that no sooner had Mark Duggan been shot than W70 raced to catch Mark Duggan as he fell to his knees and then subsequently searched Duggan for possession of a firearm. Officer R31 claimed he had found a handgun in some bushes behind railings, some minutes after Mark Duggan had been shot dead.

Sources of evidence that will be used in the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan

IPCC documents

The nature of the circumstances surrounding the death of Mark Duggan became subject of an investigation for the Independent Police Complaints Commission on the evening Duggan was shot. In fact the inquest was put on hold until the IPCC investigation was completed. During the two years that it took for the IPCC investigation to complete it became clear to the coroner that the IPCC was collating material that would be useful to the inquest. Ashley Underwood QC, Counsel for the inquest, described how the coroner considered handling the IPCC information in one of two ways. One way was to use just the IPCC investigation report, assuming the data collected by the inquest, of relevance to the IPCC, would be covered in the report. A second way, chosen by the coroner, was to receive the raw data and review it together with the IPCC investigation report.

Although the inquest made it clear to the IPCC in the months following the death of Mark Duggan that it required the documentation available to the IPCC, the IPCC whilst making a small amount of information available to the inquest within the first nine months of the investigation, refused to make the majority of the documentation, some 60 lever arch files, available, until between January and March 2013. The reasons for the IPCC’s delay are unclear. The IPCC has argued it would be dangerous for the inquest to have only some of the information, and that it would be safer for the inquest to have all the information at the same time. However the IPCC has contradicted its own advice by giving information to the inquest within the first year of the death of Mark Duggan, and handing over a substantial number of files between January 2013 and March 2013, before the inquest was finished, and therefore, presumably, before the IPCC could be sure all the files handed over were goint to be all the files in the possession of the IPCC by the end of the investigation.

Furthermore, although the coroner made it clear he would like to see a copy of a draft of the IPCC investigation report the IPCC have held back on providing a draft report to the inquest. The IPCC reneged on an agreement made with the coroner in a January 2013 pre-inquest review to submit a ‘work in progress’ copy of the report for February 2013 which caused the judge presiding over the inquest to comment that the IPCC commissioner was in contempt of court. In a March 2013 pre-inquest review the IPCC agreed to submit a copy of their report to the judge for May 2013.

MPS documents

In the March 2013 pre-inquest review Ashley Underwood QC, Counsel fo the inquest reported having received approximately 20 files of documents from the MPS.

Request for documents from the Kevin Hutchinson-Foster trial

In the March 2013 pre-inquest review Ashley Underwood QC, Counsel fo the inquest reported having received the transcripts from the trial and retrial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster.

Witnesses

In the March 2013 pre-inquest review Ashley Underwood QC reported that the inquest had identified a list of 82 witnesses.

Redactions

In the March 2013 pre-inquest review Ashley Underwood QC explained that a process would be put in place for redacting the materials received by the coroner for use in the inquest. The inquest staff would first redact the materials for data protection reasons, then each document would be sent to its respective owner to see if they wanted to claim any other public interest immunity, after which inquest staff would make further redactions for data protection and anonymity reasons.

What is known and what is not known about the shooting of Mark Duggan?

The purposes of and questions to be asked during the inquest have been detailed in a section above. Here we look at what is already known about the circumstances leading to the shooting of Mark Duggan, and what has yet to be clarified. There are a number of aspects about the circumstances leading to the death of Mark Duggan, which seem fairly clear. We know that on the 4th August 2011 at 6.15pm officers bought the people carrier in which Duggan was travelling to a stop. Duggan exited the people carrier on the pavement side. Within two seconds the police shouted something to Duggan and a police officer shot Duggan twice, first in the chest and then in the arm. At the same time a police officer was struck by a police issue bullet, which lodged into his MPS radio. Having been hit by two bullets Duggan fell to the floor. Meanwhile the police officer, whose radio had been hit, cried out that he had been hit. Police officers searched Duggan but were unable to find a gun, applied first aid but did not effectively resuscitate Duggan and declared Duggan dead at 6.41pm. The police officer, whose radio was hit, was attended to and taken to Homerton Hospital.

Whilst some aspects of the circumstances leading up to the shooting of Mark Duggan seem fairly clear, there is less clarity over a range of other events, which occurred before and during the shooting of Mark Duggan, either because there is insufficient evidence to clarify the issue, or because the evidence that exists conflicts. For example, no firm conclusion can be reached on what was shouted to Duggan as he exited the vehicle, the direction in which Duggan faced or started to head once he had exited the people carrier, whether he headed towards or away from police officers, whether he broke into a run and whether he attempted to deploy a gun. Neither can a firm conclusion be reached on the location of the officer who shot Duggan when he shot Duggan. Furthermore, whilst it is clear that police officers claim to have found a hangun in the vicinity of the location in which Duggan was shot dead, nothing is known about how the handgun reached the location it did.

Finally there are other events, which have been reported to have taken place, which would require an alternative source to verify, given that the source of the information clearly benefits from reporting events in the way they did. For example, police officers have provided a fairly clear account of the motives and perceptions, which led to a decision to shoot Duggan and which informed their behaviour in the events leading up to the shooting. Officers claimed to have tracked the movements of Duggan from the afternoon of the 4th of August because they suspected Duggan would that very day attempt to get hold of a gun, as part of a strategy to avenge the killing of a relative. Police also claim to have watched Duggan taking a silver people carrier taxi to Leyton, from where he was said to be seen taking a shoebox from an associate called Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, from which point he was driven on to Ferry Lane. Police officers believed the box Duggan had received from Hutchinson-Foster had a gun in it, which was sufficient reason for them to subsequently arrest Duggan. Furthermore, the police officer, who claims to have shot Duggan twice, claims that Duggan, on exiting the people carrier, attempted to deploy a handgun. However, whilst officers are clear about the motives and perceptions, which informed their behaviour, some of their perceptions have been contradicted by witnesses, and there is little independent or documentary evidence to verify their accounts. Other events, reported to have taken place, which would require an alternative source of verification, given that the source of information clearly benefits from reporting events in that way, include the suggestion of the mother of three of Mark Duggan’s children, that before Duggan had exited the people carrier he had sent a text indicating that he was aware his movements were being tracked by police officers from Trident. They also include police officers ‘claim’ to have found a gun in the vicinity of where Duggan had been shot some minutes after the shooting.

Given the conflicting accounts, conflict of interest and lack of evidence, the findings from forensic analyses have a key role to play in informing any attempt to reach a judgement on what occurred in the lead up to the shooting of Mark Duggan. Findings from forensic examinations, made available to the public, include that:

It has been argued that the implications of these findings are that:

Activities to be carried out by the inquest

During a pre-inquest review in January 2013 Andrew Underwood QC, Counsel to the Inquest, identified the following activities to be carried out to help the inquest answers its questions:

  • A forensic examination of the fingerprints on the shoebox, said to have been passed from Kevin Hutchinson-Foster to Mark Duggan, fifteen minutes before the shooting, to ascertain if somebody had lifted the lid of the shoebox off? Ashley Underwood QC said: “Now no trace of Mr Duggan’s DNA was found on the pistol, or on the sock which contained it. Neither were his fingerprints on either of those. His fingerprints were found on the outside of the cardboard box which was found in the minicab. Those prints were found on a part of the box which was only accessible if the lid was part way up. What is not at all clear is whether there were any prints consistent with somebody having lifted the lid. That’s a matter which we suggest would repay some more careful, or more attention at least with the forensic scientists”.

  • A reconstruction of the shooting to test accounts of the shooting. Ashley Underwood QC said, “There’s a conflict of expert opinion about what could be inferred from Mr Duggan’s wounds in order to show precisely how he was holding his right arm as he was shot. That’s a matter of some significance to do with the threat which he may have been perceived as posing with the gun. And again that’s something upon which further scientific work could usefully be done we say. Mr Duggan was wearing a short padded jacket when he was shot. There was no bullet hole in the right-hand upper side corresponding with the chest wound. There was however a series of four holes in the lower-left front part of it, which is said to have been consistent with that part being bunched up and in some way held up over the right chest area. And again one needs to look at that with great care by way of some sort of reconstruction exercise to test the accounts that have been given here.”

  • Ascertaining whether either of the two bullets, which hit Mark Duggan, ricocheted off the interior of the people carrier, in which Mr Duggan had been travelling. Ashley Underwood QC said, “In terms of trajectory of the shots, one of the two rounds which was fired and which struck Mr Duggan apparently hit him and then hit another police officer, in fact in the radio, who was apparently standing behind him. The other shot appears to have ended up inside a plastic bag in the minicab, without putting a bullet hole in that plastic bag, so presumably then having got there through the opening. I’m not clear yet whether ballistics work was done on the minicab to see whether there could have been a ricochet from the interior. Again that’s something we’d like to consider with great care when all the materials are to hand from the IPCC.”

  • Establish the existence of and examine the content of the satnavs or any other data collection instrument from the police cars used in the apprehension of Mark Duggan. Ashley Underwood, QC said , “The police and the CPS did a good deal of work in pursuit of the case against the man who is said to have supplied the gun, including a download of the satnav in the minicab, with the aim of reconstructing its routes, and to attribute timings to the stopping in Ferry Lane. I’m not yet clear whether the same was done for any satnavs or anything else in the police cars so that the timings of the shooting can be juxtaposed with the time that was given by officers and by CCTV and any other coverage there may be. And that too is likely to repay extra work”.

  • Encouraging witnesses to some of the events immediately after the shooting to cooperate with the inquest. Ashley Underwood said, “I think it’s well known that the BBC has obtained footage taken from a position overlooking the scene which appears to commence from a short period after the shooting. The BBC has made that available to the IPCC. The IPCC in turn has identified one of the persons connected with recording it. That person isn’t cooperating with the IPCC, and neither is another person thought to be involved in that. It’s possible that they may cooperate with you, and we will of course make every effort to invite them to do that”.

    Michael Mansfield QC speaking at the January 2013 pre-inquest review advised the Deputy Coroner Judge Keith Cutler not to assume that the officers who had carried out the shooting of Mark Duggan were aware of the intelligence that was available to senior officers, who had given the strategic order to those officers to apprehend Duggan. Reflecting on evidence given by officers in the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, Mansfield pointed out that at no stage did the police officer witnesses say that what happened at the scene was determined by intelligence information.