CCTV reveals Menezes' final moments
James Macintyre – The Independent October 9, 2007
Jean Charles de Menezes was shown picking up a morning paper and walking calmly through Stockwell Tube station in the moments before he was shot dead on the Underground by police, in CCTV footage released last night.
Contrary to reports at the time, Menezes – who had been mistaken by police for a suicide bomber – was not running and did not jump over the ticket barriers, the newly released footage clearly showed.
The first images of Menezes in the build-up to his death came after a police officer present at the shooting described the "shocking" moments that the innocent Brazilian was pinned down and then shot seven times in the head. The surveillance officer, codenamed Ivor, told the Old Bailey that the incident – which came in the aftermath of an attempted "second wave" of attacks on the Tube following the 7 July bombings in 2005 – was distressing to passengers on the Northern Line train.
Ivor described how he moved into action "instinctively" after Menezes got up from his seat. He told the jury: "I grabbed Menezes, wrapping both my arms around the torso, pinning his arms against his side, pushing him back to the seat with the right-hand side of my head against the right-hand side of his torso, pinning him to the seat.
"He appeared to stiffen up. He was not in a natural sitting position but he was back in the seat where he had been sitting. After a few moments I felt his head turn towards me. I was aware of a CO19 officer kneeling on the seat to my left. I heard a gunshot very close to my left ear and was hit by a shockwave of a gun being discharged."
At one point, the officer said, he was apparently mistaken for a suspect himself amid chaotic scenes in which he found himself with a gun being turned on him. "I was aware that the long-barrelled weapon was levelled at my chest and the barrel of a gun was at my head," he said. "Given this, I held out my hands and shouted 'police'."
By chance, the plain-clothes officer was dressed "virtually identically" to Menezes in jeans, a denim jacket and trainers. He was then dragged away from the scene before putting his black police cap on.
"I could hear several gunshots and shouting and screaming, but nothing more specific," Ivor said. "The scene was extremely violent, extremely noisy and obviously distressing.
"Members of the public were emptying the carriage, obviously in distress. There was a lot of gunsmoke. It was obviously a shocking incident."
The officer described the immediate thinking that led to his decision to accost Menezes. "Given the nature of the subject we were deployed against, I had to make an assessment within seconds. I was concerned that his hands may come together and instinctively pinned his hands to his side.
"I was obviously concerned that he may be carrying arms or had explosives in his possession which could be a threat to the public on the carriage."
Police had waited outside Menezes's home in Scotia Road, south London – an address that, according to police, had been connected to the 21 July attempted bomber Hussain Osman – before following him on to two buses and then into Stockwell Tube station.
The police were uncertain as to the identity of Menezes. Ivor told the court: "I requested via my radio whether or not Menezes should be detained. I received the reply that I should wait."
He added: "I was certainly in a position to effect some sort of detention of Menezes."
The Office of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police denies a single charge of exposing the public to risk in breach of health and safety legislation.
The hearing is set to continue today.
Last updated 12/10/2007