Adam Fresco and Hannah Strange – Times Online October 30, 2008
A couple sitting opposite Jean Charles de Menezes said that they never heard undercover police identify themselves before they shot the innocent Brazilian, an inquest heard today.
Ralph Livock was travelling with his girlfriend Rachel Wilson when they saw several men with guns board the train at Stockwell Tube station and move towards Mr de Menezes with their weapons raised.
They said that they had no idea if the men were pranksters, police or terrorists and realised the severity of the situation only when the shooting started and Ms Wilson found that she was covered in blood.
At no time, they said, did they hear anyone shout "armed police", contradicting accounts from other armed officers that they had identified themselves.
De Menezes body lies in the deserted train carriage
The couple were sitting on the train reading about how four failed suicide bombers had targeted London's transport network the day before — July 21, 2005 — when the plain-clothed officers boarded the train.
Mr Livock, asked if any of the officers identified themselves, said: "Absolutely not. On the television you see people with police caps or jackets. There was nothing like that."
"One of my initial thoughts was that it was all a game and they were a group of lads who were just having a laugh, a very bad-taste laugh, but just having a game on the Tube because they were dressed in jeans and T-shirts but with firearms.
"We had no idea whether they were police, whether they were terrorists, whether they were somebody else, we just had no idea.
"The thing that had me realise it was not a group of lads playing around or something else happening was when the first shot was fired. The man in the front fired into Mr de Menezes's head and at the stage it gets confusing in my mind."
Ms Wilson said: "I thought they were messing around and then I thought they were terrorists and it was only when I left the carriage and somebody moved me gently out of the way that I realised they were good guys."
Asked when she realised it was more serious than people playing a game she told Southwark Coroners court, sitting at the Oval: "When I looked down and there was blood on my hands."
She said that she sat still hoping that the men with guns would not notice her.
Mr Livock said that when the armed men appeared Mr de Menezes did not look scared.
"Mr de Menezes was looking as if he was, I hesitate to say confused, that's not really right, he was looking as if he was expecting somebody to say something, he didn't look frightened, he looked like he was waiting for somebody to tell him what was going on."
Contrary to what the armed officers told the court he said that he did not see the 27-year-old electrician get out of his seat and walk towards the officers.
"My recollection is that I didn't see him doing anything other than sitting," he said.
He added that he remembered Mr de Menezes reached towards the top of his trousers and then the shooting started.
Mr de Menezes was shot seven times in the head at point-blank range after being mistaken for a failed suicide bomber.
As Mr Livock got off the train he heard more shooting, he said. He looked round and saw Mr de Menezes "slumped" in his seat and there was a lot of blood.
Passengers ran on to a Victoria Line train before getting off at Pimlico. They tried to get a member of staff to call police but he wanted to know why.
Mr Livock said: "He wanted reasons why he should call police and it was not until I showed him that Rachel was covered in blood that he tired to get hold of the police."
But he could not get through, the inquest heard, so the group of seven or eight witnesses went to a nearby pub and the landlord called the police.
Mr Livock said that officers interviewed them while other members of the public sat around drinking.
A third passenger, Wesley Merrill, told the hearing that he saw some officers wearing police hats.
Speaking outside the court Mr de Menezes's mother, Maria Otone de Menezes, 63, said: "None of the passengers heard the police give any warning or described Jean's actions as aggressive.
"It has been painful to me when police have implied he acted in a manner that contributed to his death."
Comment – October 30, 2008
De Menezes killing was an execution, pure and simple. The fact that we have only just heard from these two eyewitnesses suggests that British police have been trying to cover-up what was essentially a murder; as is the fact that their evidence completely contradicts earlier police accounts.
That it has taken more than three years for these accounts to reach the public domain is another indication that the authorities are trying to suppress the truth about what really happened on July 22, 2005.
This whole episode bears the hallmarks of the actions of a totalitarian state; as does the arrest of a cameraman who had tried to film the police marksmen a few days earlier.
Make no mistake: Britain is in the process of becoming a real police state.
Last updated 02/11/2008