Sunday, June 12, 2005

Police who shot Harry Stanley arrested

TWO SCOTLAND Yard firearms officers were arrested last week on suspicion of the murder or manslaughter of Harry Stanley in 1999 and attempting to prevent the course of justice.
Harry Stanley, a father of three from Scotland, died after leaving a pub in Hackney carrying a table leg that had just been repaired in a plastic bag. An unknown person had made a call to the police from the pub, claiming he had seen an Irishman carrying a sawn-off shotgun wrapped in a plastic bag.
At the time Harry Stanley was recovering from major abdominal surgery and was unable to move or turn quickly.
The arrests of Chief Inspector Neil Sharman and PC Kevin Fagan follow new forensic evidence which contradicts the evidence given by the two officers about the circumstances of the shooting.
The officers claim they opened fire after shouting: “Stop, armed police”. They had approached Mr Stanley from behind, carrying their weapons drawn.
They said he had turned round and faced them and raised the object they believed to be a gun in a classic gunshot pose.
PC Fagan told the second inquest into the death that he has shouted “drop it” to Mr Stanley but that Stanley then confronted them in a “boxer’s stance”.
Fagan then shot Stanley in the hand while Sharman shot him in the head. A first inquest in June 2002 returned an open verdict.
The second inquest in October last year returned a verdict of unlawful killing, which sparked a fresh investigation into the case by Surrey Police.
The new forensic evidence concerns the positions of the entry and exit wounds, which contradict the account given by the two officers but could strengthen claims by Harry Staley’s family that they believe he was shot in the back.
The family have campaigned since his death for a full investigation and for justice.