Dead man walking: the last moments of de Menezes' life

JEAN Charles de Menezes was effectively a dead man as soon as he left his London home on the morning of 22 July, 2005, a jury ruled yesterday.

Police were already outside his house in Scotia Road, in the south of the city, at 5am, part of a massive operation to arrest Hussein Osman, a member of the gang of Islamist extremists who attempted to murder dozens of people with home-made rucksack bombs the previous day.

As counter-terrorist police hunted the escaped would-be suicide bombers, Mr de Menezes was mistaken for Osman.

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Osman had been traced to 21 Scotia Road and a stake-out of the property was set up in the early hours.

At 5am, a request was made for surveillance teams and firearms officers to go to the street, while shortly after, Cressida Dick, the Met's then deputy assistant commissioner, set up an operations room at New Scotland Yard.

By 8:55am, two surveillance teams were in place at Scotia Road, but quickly became concerned at the absence of any firearms teams.

At 9:33am, Mr de Menezes left the road on his way to a job in north London, but was not identified by one surveillance officer, who was relieving himself at the time.

Seconds later, however, the operations room was told that the Brazilian matched Osman's description. One surveillance officer said he was "possibly identical" to Osman as he walked along Upper Tulse Hill.

At 9:39am, Mr de Menezes boarded a No 2 bus, followed by a surveillance officer, known as Ivor, who failed to positively identify him and said he had "Mongolian eyes".

A few minutes later, the operations room was told that the man was not Osman.

At 9:47am, Mr de Menezes got off the bus at Brixton town centre and walked 20 metres north to the Tube – but he found it closed and got back on the bus.

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Another surveillance officer boarded the bus. At 10:01am, Mr de Menezes got off the bus and walked towards the Stockwell Tube station. Ivor, who had sneaked into the station ahead of him, watched him approach – but still the surveillance officers were unable to positively identify their target.

The police had massive difficulties, many of their own making, identifying Mr de Menezes, but yesterday the jury ruled that those difficulties could not be blamed for his death.

During the inquest, a senior surveillance officer, known only as Pat, denied evidence given by Ms Dick, insisting that he had never said "they think it's him" before the shooting.

At 10:04am, Mr de Menezes reached the escalator, followed by surveillance officers and firearms officers who had just reached the station.

Ms Dick ordered them to stop Mr de Menezes, and the firearms officers were put in charge of the operation with the declaration of "state red".

Mr de Menezes boarded the train and sat down, followed by Ivor, who sat to his left, separated by a few passengers. At 10:05am, three armed officers reached the train.

Two of the surveillance officers pointed to Mr de Menezes.

The jury accepted the police's account that the Brazilian stood up at this point. He was grappled back down by Ivor, who got him in a bear hug, at which point two firearms officers, "C2" and "C12", leaned over their colleague and shot Mr de Menezes dead.

Passengers – many speaking in public for the first time – told the inquest how their journeys were shattered by the gunfire and bloodshed.

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None recalled hearing the officers identify themselves as police, and several spoke of their fear that the gunmen who entered their carriage might have been terrorists.

Ralph Livock and his girlfriend, Rachel Wilson, got on a Northern Line train at Clapham North station. Their carriage – the second from the front – was fairly empty.

They picked up a copy of the free Metro newspaper lying on an unoccupied seat opposite and laid it down on their knees so they could both read about what had happened the day before.

The train pulled into Stockwell station – the next on the route – and stopped there for longer than normal. Such delays are not unusual on the Underground, and they were not unduly concerned.

While the train was waiting, Mr de Menezes got on and sat down directly opposite Ms Wilson. A minute or so later shouts came from outside the carriage and a group of stocky, gun-wielding men rushed on board.

They wore jeans and T-shirts, and the couple at first assumed they were playing a game – albeit one that was in very bad taste considering the previous day's events.

It also occurred to Ms Wilson that they could be terrorists.

Mr Livock recalled that one of the gunmen silently pointed a pistol at the man in a denim jacket sitting opposite his girlfriend, who would later turn out to be Mr de Menezes.

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The Brazilian did not appear frightened but seemed to be waiting for someone to tell him what was happening, he said.

Then all of a sudden the gunman started firing at Mr de Menezes and Mr Livock ran for one of the doors of the carriage.

He turned back to see the Brazilian slumped to one side and his girlfriend still in her seat with the newspaper on her lap and her hands splattered with blood.

The jury accepted the evidence of the passengers, rejecting police claims that they shouted "armed police" before opening fire.

They also rejected the claim that Mr de Menezes had moved towards the first officer who opened fire.

The officers who have more questions to answer


CRESSIDA Dick was responsible for the entire botched operation. She was questioned for more than two days about her decisions. Ms Dick, since promoted to deputy assistant commissioner, told the hearing: "If you ask me whether I think anybody did anything wrong in the operation, I don't think they did." The jury found the views of the surveillance officers regarding identification were not accurately communicated to the command team and the firearms officers.


SIR Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police commissioner, quit in October, just under two weeks into the inquest, when Boris Johnson, the new London mayor, made it clear he had withdrawn his support. He had blocked independent investigators from the scene. Sir Ian had held out through a series of independent inquiries, a health and safety conviction and a vote of confidence. The botched shooting was seen as one of the major factors in his resignation.


A MET officer known only as "Owen" is already being investigated by the PCC after admitting tampering with his own evidence during proceedings. The Special Branch officer deleted words from his notes before appearing as a witness, describing how deputy assistant commissioner Cressida Dick said Mr de Menezes could "run on to Tube as not carrying anything". Owen told the inquest it was "wrong and gave a totally false impression".


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TWO specialist firearms officers – known only as Charlie 2 and Charlie 12 – fired the shots that killed Mr de Menezes. They were taken off front-line duty while the Crown Prosecution Service considered charges against them and later put back on full duties when the CPS decided not to charge them. The jury dismissed their claims that a warning was shouted before they opened fire. Passengers sitting in the same carriage told the hearing they heard no warning

Revelations about a month that changed UK history

THE inquest turned up fresh revelations about a month that changed the course of British history.

The dark atmosphere of July 2005 was relived by those at the centre of the investigation into the 7 July suicide bomb attacks.

Jurors heard how Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead on a day much like any other for the Brazilian electrician's mate from south London. At the time, counter-terrorist officers were locked in a desperate and unprecedented manhunt for a team of suicide bombers.

It was revealed that those at the very top of government were aware of Sir Ian Blair's decision to block independent investigators from the shooting scene. Chief Inspector Stephen Costello, a post-incident manager, revealed Tony Blair, then prime minister, was consulted over the controversial decision.

It also emerged fears of further attacks were so great a number of landmark locations were locked down and army units put on standby across Britain.

Peter Clarke, then head of counter-terrorism operations, said no-one was allowed to leave Buckingham Palace, Parliament or New Scotland Yard for 90 minutes on 12 July 2005.

The move followed the discovery that day of the terrorists' Leeds bomb factory and an abandoned car at Luton train station. Detective Superintendent Jon Boutcher disclosed soldiers were on alert in other cities, including Birmingham and Manchester.

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Family cries 'whitewash' as firearms police face demands for perjury inquiry

THE family of Jean Charles de Menezes branded the inquest into his death a "whitewash" after the open verdict into his shooting was delivered.

While the Metropolitan Police accepted "full responsibility" for his death, relatives launched a stinging attack on the coroner. Sir Michael Wright, was said to have "failed on every count".

The two police officers who claimed to have shouted warnings before the shooting face demands that they be investigated for possible perjury. The jury dismissed their claims there were shouts of "armed police" before they opened fire and disputed that Mr de Menezes walked towards officers before he was killed.

Another counter-terrorism officer admitted changing evidence to the inquest and will face a police investigation. He deleted a line from computer notes quoting deputy assistant commissioner Cressida Dick. Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times at Stockwell Tube station in south London on 22 July, 2005 after being mistaken for failed suicide bomber Hussain Osman.

The jury ruled that six factors caused his death:

• A failure to give the surveillance team better photographic images of the terror suspect.

• A police failure to ensure Mr de Menezes was stopped before he reached public transport.

• The fact that the views of the surveillance officers regarding identification were not accurately communicated to the command team and the firearms officers.

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• The fact that the position of the firearms officers' cars was not accurately known to the command team as they were approaching Stockwell Station.

• There were significant shortcomings in the communications system as it was operating on the day between police teams on the ground and New Scotland Yard.

• A failure to conclude, at the time, that surveillance officers should still be used to carry out the stop of Mr de Menezes at Stockwell Station even after it was reported specialist firearms officers could perform the stop.

Sir Paul Stephenson, acting commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said: "The death of Jean Charles de Menezes was a tragedy. He was an innocent man and we must and do accept full responsibility for his death.

"For somebody to lose his life in such circumstances is something the Metropolitan Police Service deeply regrets.

"In the face of enormous challenges faced by officers on that day, we made the most terrible mistake. I am sorry."

The Association of Chief Police Officers said lessons had been learned, but insisted the firearms officers believed their actions would protect the public.

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