26 Sep 2012

Policeman certain Mark Duggan had gun

The police marksman who shot Mark Duggan tells a court he was “absolutely 100 per cent” sure he was holding a handgun.

The officer, known as V53, told the trial of Kevin Hutchinson-Foster, who is accused of providing Mark Duggan with a gun minutes before he was killed, that he fired two bullets at him.

The death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, pictured above, in Tottenham, north London, sparked widespread riots in the summer of 2011.

The officer told Snaresbrook Crown Court: “Mark Duggan was holding a handgun in his right hand. He was holding the pistol grip of the gun. I could make out the shape, the outline, of the gun.

“I could make out the trigger guard and the barrel. The size of the object he was carrying was of a similar size to the handgun I carry operationally.

“I was aware of previous police incidents in which criminals carry handguns in socks, and there is a black sock covering the firearm Mark Duggan is carrying in his right hand.

“The only way I can describe this is it was – if I may, my lord, apologise to the jury – an ‘oh f*** moment’. He’s got a gun and he’s going to use it on me.”

The marksman, who gave evidence from behind a screen, has been in the police for more than 15 years and an authorised firearms officer since 2003.

‘Honest-held belief’

He said: “August 4 will always be in my head. It’s very clear, even now. I had an honest-held belief that Mark Duggan was going to shoot me or one of my colleagues, so I brought my MP5 (sub-machine gun) up to the shooting position.

“The gun was still in his hand as I fired the round which impacted on his right chest.”

The officer told the court that police were trained to fire at the central body mass to “shoot to stop”, rather than “shooting to kill, or any of this stuff you see on TV”.

He said that before the incident his team had trailed the cab in which Mark Duggan was travelling from Dalston to Leyton.

I had an honest-held belief that Mark Duggan was going to shoot me or one of my colleagues, so I brought my MP5 up to the shooting position. Police marksman

He added that he had shot him after Mark Duggan got out of the taxi, brandishing a gun.

After shooting him once, he feared he or another officer could be shot because he was still holding his weapon, so he fired at him for a second time.

The prosecution claims Mark Duggan travelled in a taxi to collect the gun from Hutchinson-Foster in Leyton, east London, before continuing to Tottenham.

Hutchinson-Foster is on trial accused of passing the gun to Mark Duggan that day. He denies the charge.