9 Sep 2011

Funeral for Tottenham shooting victim Mark Duggan

Mark Duggan, whose shooting by police in Tottenham on 4 August sparked a wave of rioting across England, is buried in north London.

Amid lingering tensions between family members and police, the ornate cortege carrying the body of Mark Duggan made its way to his private funeral after passing through north London’s Broadwater Farm estate.

His coffin, in a white carriage pulled by four plumed white horses, was decorated with flowers. The cortege was led by Mr Duggan’s brothers Marlon Duggan and Shaun Hall, and was followed by a long procession of cars.

Grieving friends, relatives and well-wishers had arrived earlier to pay their respects as the strains of Amazing Grace rang out.

Others, dressed in black, gathered outside the New Testament Church of God in Wood Green, where the beat of a drum was heard as his funeral started.

Semone Wilson, who lost a child in 2008, said her late partner would now be reunited with the little girl.

“You take care of baby Kylah,” she said.

In a touching tribute, Mr Duggan’s parents, Vincent and Pamela, spoke of their son’s love for his family.

Pamela also said Mark’s partner Semone was “a brick wall”.

She added: “You couldn’t break that wall down for nothing.

“In many ways, Semone saved Mark and that’s why he loved her dearly.

“She loved him unconditionally, like they loved their children.”

Later mourners comforted each other as they left the church.

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‘Shoot to kill’

On the eve of the funeral, Shaun Hall said police officers operated under a “shoot to kill policy” and questioned why police had shot him in the chest rather than a non-lethal part of his body.

Tottenham MP David Lammy said Mr Duggan’s family had been “left floundering” and the “lack of communication did not help”.

Mother Pam Duggan, 53, who said her son was a “loving boy with a good heart”, had arranged the private church ceremony and the reception at the Broadwater Farm Community Centre.

Direct link?

It has been widely reported that Mr Duggan’s death in Tottenham, north London, on 4 August, triggered four nights of rioting which spread across the country.

Asked if the troubles were sparked by Mr Duggan’s shooting, Home Secretary Theresa May told MPs: “I would be very cautious in saying that the shooting had the sort of direct link that we’re talking about.”

A police watchdog investigation into the death of Mr Duggan, who was raised close to the spot where PC Keith Blakelock was killed during rioting in 1985, is expected to last up to six months.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “It is in the interest of everyone, the family of Mr Duggan, the public and the police that the Independent Police Complaints Commission is able to establish all the facts of the events so that there is a complete understanding of what happened, and the MPS is doing everything possible to assist with that process.

“We have met with Mr Duggan’s parents. In line with the family’s wishes, the policing will reflect the family’s desire for a local, peaceful and dignified funeral.”

Ballistic tests

An inquest into Mr Duggan’s death, which opened at North London Coroner’s Court in High Barnet, heard the father of four died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Initial reports that Mr Duggan shot at police were dismissed through ballistic tests which later discovered that a bullet which lodged itself in one officer’s radio was police issue.

Mr Duggan was a passenger in a minicab which was apparently stopped by police close to Tottenham Hale tube station. A non-police issue handgun, converted from a blank-firing pistol to one that shoots live rounds, was found near the scene of his death.