Public inquiry launched into death of man shot by police marksman

Jermaine Baker died from a single gunshot wound near Wood Green Court in December 2015.

Jermaine Baker
Jermaine Baker

A public inquiry is being launched into the death of Jermaine Baker, who was shot by a police marksman during an attempt to free a prisoner.

The 28-year-old, of Tottenham, north London, died from a single gunshot wound as the Metropolitan Police foiled a break-out attempt near Wood Green Crown Court on December 11 2015.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the decision in a written ministerial statement to the House of Commons on Wednesday.

She said the inquiry would be launched under the Inquiries Act 2005 to investigate the circumstances of the death and will be led by retired judge Clement Goldstone QC.

The statement said: “Establishing an inquiry is important to ensure that all of the relevant evidence can be properly considered as part of an effective investigation into Mr Baker’s death.

“It has been necessary to establish an inquiry so as to permit all relevant evidence to be heard.”

The Crown Prosecution Service did not bring charges against the marksman, known as W80 for legal reasons, saying there was insufficient evidence.

Mr Baker’s family released a statement through the charity Inquest, that read: “We welcome the announcement of the public inquiry into Jermaine’s death, and we look now to the inquiry to conduct a full and thorough investigation.

“We are however seriously concerned that it has taken more than four years to get to this point.

“It has been and remains a painful process for our family, and it is long past time that the public learned the shocking truth about how Jermaine died.”

Mr Baker was among a group of men trying to free Izzet Eren as he was transported from Wormwood Scrubs prison to be sentenced for a firearms offence.

W80 claimed to be acting in self-defence, fearing Mr Baker was reaching for a gun. No firearm was found but police did recover an imitation Uzi machine gun in the rear of the car.

Deb Coles, executive director of Inquest, said: “The long delay in announcing this inquiry has frustrated learning and accountability and has been dreadful for Jermaine’s family.

“However, we hope this is a step towards robust scrutiny of those involved in Jermaine’s death.”

Last year the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) announced it had directed the force to launch disciplinary proceedings into the officer over alleged use of excessive force.

But the police watchdog’s decision was quashed by a High Court ruling in August which found it had applied the wrong legal tests to order the gross misconduct hearing so this did not go ahead.

The IOPC has appealed against the decision and the case is due to be heard at the Court of Appeal by December.

The inquiry will have the same scope as the current inquest, which will be suspended after the establishment of the inquiry, the statement added.

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