From:   RustyBullethole, [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Sunday Telegraph 10.12.00 (OCR)

In September 1999 a father recovering from
cancer surgery was gunned down in the
street: last week, his family was told
that no one will be prosecuted. But as
48-year-old widow is still determined to have
her day in court.

Soon after 10am last Monday, the family of the late Harry
Stanley gathered in their east London home and waited nervously
for a telephone call from their solicitor.

It finally came just before 11am. Jason, Mr Stanley's eldest
son, took the call in the living room of his mother's terraced
house in Hackney, sitting in a navy blue leather chair. Until
his death, it had been his father's favourite.

On the other end of the line was Daniel Machover, who has
represented the family since Mr Stanley was shot dead as he
walked home clutching nothing more dangerous than a repaired
table leg.

"I am afraid I have some bad news for you," Mr Machover said.
"The Crown Prosecution Service has decided there will be no

He then read from the three-page letter that the CPS had
faxed to Hickman & Rose's ground-floor offices in Islington,
north London. It concluded that there was insufficient
evidence to prosecute two firearms officers for murder or

Disappointment quickly turned to anger as Jason Stanley, 27,
relayed the news to his mother, Irene, 48; brother, Jamie,
19; and sister Charlene, 18. Mrs Stanley was so shocked that
she spent the rest of the day in her bed-clothes, unable to
find the will to get dressed. "I felt so depressed. We
wanted this to go to trial, so a judge and jury could decide
if what happened was wrong," she said.

Less than 15 months after flowers, candles and children's
toys marked the bloodstained spot - no more than 100 yards
from his home - where Mr Stanley was shot, the family found
themselves at a new low.

They still had no answer to questions that had tormented
them: how had Mr Stanley, a family-orientated grandfather
of three, come to be shot dead in the early evening by the
very people who were meant to be protecting him?

How could two experienced marksmen become convinced they
were in danger from an unarmed man, left weak after surgery
and who was carrying only a 15in piece of wood wrapped in a
rolled-up plastic bag?

Furthermore, the-CPS's decision not to bring charges meant
that the family may never know the identity of the inspector
and constable who shot Mr Stanley, or of the three witnesses
to the incident.

It was at 7.30pm on Wednesday, September 22, 1999, when Mr
Stanley stopped at The Alexandra pub, 500 yards from home.
Just two days earlier, more than 20 stitches had been removed
from his stomach following an operation for colon cancer.
Feeling weary, he called in at the pub to rest on his way
home. He had ordered a lemonade and placed the plastic bag
beside and, occasionally, under his foot.

Others in the bar were unable to see that the bag held a
coffee table leg that had been broken during a party. Mr
Stanley had just collected it from his brother, Peter, a DIY
enthusiast living a mile away, who had repaired it.

At 7.44pm, Mr Stanley left the pub to walk home, where he had
planned to watch Manchester United's Champions League match
on television. Unknown to him however, a pub customer had
become suspicious.

Mistaking Mr Stanley's Glaswegian accent for an Irish one,
the customer rang the police and reported that a man -whose
description he provided-had left the pub carrying what he
believed was a sawn-off shotgun.

A two-man armed response team arrived just before 7.55pm
in a marked Rover 827 police car. The two officers, members
of Scotland Yard's S019 specialist firearms team, jumped
from their patrol car close to the junction of Victoria
Park Road and Fremont Street. As Mr Stanley turned down
Fremont Street, the officers challenged him to stop,
identifying themselves as armed police. Mr Stanley turned
to face them in the well-lit street, clutching the table
leg in his right hand.

The officers, who were standing apart in the road, each
fired one shot from their Glock 9mm self-loading pistols
from 10 yards.

One bullet struck Mr Stanley in the head, the other in the
left hand. When ambulancemen arrived, he was dead.
Mr Stanley's wife had heard the shots and come into the
street. As police put up tape to cordon off the body,
reports quickly spread that a man had been shot. "That's
somebody husband, somebody's son," said Mrs Stanley to a
neighbour before shutting her front door.

That night, when he failed to arrive home, Mrs Stanley
assumed her husband had decided to stay with his brother.
It was not until the next day that she learnt that the
victim had, indeed, been someone's husband: her own. At
47, she had been widowed by two bullets which, she will
always remain convinced, should never have been fired.

By Tuesday morning last week, 24 hours after learning of
the CPS's decision, Mrs Stanley's dismay had turned to
fury. She decided, through her solicitor, to press for a
judicial review of the case in the High Court to try to
force the officers to stand trial.

"I will not let this rest. I want justice: for Harry's
sake, for my own sake and for the sake of our children,"
she said, wearing a tartan ribbon that has come to
represent the Justice for Harry Stanley Campaign.

Although nervous about public speaking, she agreed to
address a meeting at St John's church, Bethnal Green, the
following evening, attended by 150 campaign supporters.

In the wake of the Macpherson report into the death of
Stephen Lawrence, which identified "institutional" racism
in the Metropolitan Police, Mrs Stanley believes her
husband would have been less likely to have been shot if
he had been black. "If Harry had been black, it could
have been different. They might have shown more restraint,"
she said.

Daniel Machover, her solicitor, said that the anger of
the family was aimed at the behaviour of the two officers
in the seconds before they challenged Mr Stanley.

There was only the flimsiest evidence that he had a gun
and was dangerous: the fact that Mr Stanley was walking
into a quiet residential street alone suggested he was
no risk to the public.
"There were a number of options available to the police,
perhaps the most obvious one being to observe what he was
doing and evaluate whether he posed a danger," said Mr
"By challenging him, it meant that unless Mr Stanley
dropped the table leg - which there was no reason for him
to do- he was likely to turn towards them and, therefore,
to be shot."
Mr Machover said that the limited evidence supplied to
him by the CPS had "supported rather than detracted" from
his belief that the officers should be charged. The family
is, eventually, likely to seek compensation.
The Stanleys remain unhappy that fellow police officers -
in this case from the Surrey force - conducted inquiries
on behalf of the Police Complaints Authority.
They also have concerns that the CPS is "protective"
towards officers with whom they work when bringing
prosecutions. Inquest, a campaigning group that investigates
deaths in police custody and police shootings, fears that,
at the coroner's inquest into Mr Stanley's death, the
officers may be able to remain anonymous and says that
anyone can refuse to answer questions that may incriminate
In the two officers' defence, firearms experts say that
they would have had only a split second to decide whether
to open fire. The Metropolitan Police says that, when its
officers fire their guns, they "shoot to stop". Privately,
the men who pull the trigger admit that they shoot to kill.
One firearms officer said: "In an ideal world, you'd be
the cool cowboy crackshot, blow the gun out of his hand
without injury and he'd smile ruefully and say: 'It's a
fair cop, guv'. Alas, we live in the real world and you
go for the biggest target area available because you have
to stop him. So you go for the chest shot."
Both officers are said to have described Mr Stanley's pose
as the "classic position" for firing a sawn-off shotgun.
They said he looked as if he was about to fire from the
hip, with his left hand clutching what they thought was
the barrel of a gun, the right hand over what they
believed was the trigger.
The fact that both men fired supports their contention
that they were in danger, said officials close to the
investigation. Three independent witnesses are also
thought to have largely corroborated the officers' account.
One of the armed officers was so convinced that the victim
had been holding a gun that, after the shooting, he kicked
the wrapped table leg away in case the man they had shot
was still alive and tried to reach for it.
Investigators insist that the inquiry was thorough: the
police questioned some 1,000 people, collecting nearly
700 statements. The two marksmen were rigorously
questioned in the presence of their solicitors.
The CPS lawyers studying the file are said to have been
horrified that someone could be shot dead for holding a
wrapped table leg at his side, and admit that Mr Stanley
was not in any way to blame for his death.
They have, however, decided that it would be wrong to
press any charges. It was ruled that there was insufficient
evidence to provide a "realistic prospect of conviction" on
charges of murder or manslaughter by negligence.
In its statement explaining its decision, the CPS said:
"It is an established principle of English law that when a
man honestly believes that he is facing an immediate risk
of suffering serious injury, even if that belief is
mistaken, he is entitled to use such force as is reasonably
necessary to defend himself."
The Metropolitan Police has faced controversy over shooting
incidents in the past. In January 1983, armed officers
fired 14 bullets into a yellow Mini driven by Stephen
Waldorf, then a 26year-old film editor.
Five of the bullets hit and seriously injured Mr Waldorf,
who had been mistaken for an escaped prisoner suspected
of attempting to murder a policeman. Since August 1999,
the Metropolitan Police has issued firearms to its
officers on 2,862 occasions.
Many of these incidents were false alarms. Officers fired
a total of seven bullets, hitting five people. Two of
them, including Mr Stanley, died.
Peter Fahy, the Assistant Chief Constable from Surrey who
headed the inquiry, has visited the Stanley family to
offer his sympathies over the tragedy. He accepts that
the case highlights public anxieties about one force
investigating another.
"These sorts of cases offer a very strong argument about
whether we need an independent body to investigate issues
of this seriousness," he said. The Home Office is planning
to announce new reforms for investigating procedures before
As the family awaits advice this weekend from a barrister
on its next move, Mrs Stanley is keeping her husband's ashes
in an urn in a glass cabinet in the living room.
"I can't bear to scatter them now," she said. "I will - in
his native Scotland but only when I believe we have seen
Hmm, the fact that one bullet hit Mr Stanley in the hand
and the other in the head means it is possible if the first
shot went into his hand that the second officer could have
"chain fired" at the sound of the first gunshot and taken
the time to do a headshot, it was only ten yards after all.

If he was convinced his partner had detected a lethal threat
and opened fire, and the guy was still standing, then going
for the head is what you are usually trained to do.  I
don't think the defence that they both opened fire at the
same time holds water.


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