Po­lice shoot­ing of armed rob­ber was law­ful killing

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Michael DeFroand mde­froand@thek­m­group.co.uk

A MAN shot three times by un­der­cover po­lice dur­ing an armed raid was law­fully killed, an in­quest jury has de­cided.

The shoot­ing – close to the Na­tion­wide build­ing so­ci­ety in New Rom­ney on Oc­to­ber 31, 2006 – lasted only .089 sec­onds but re­sulted in two weeks of ev­i­dence, more than two hours of sum­ming up by coroner Dr Fiona Wil­cox and three hours of de­lib­er­a­tion by the jury at Folke­stone Mag­is­trates’ Court.

The jury’s de­ci­sion was that Robert Haines, 41, of Can­ter­bury Road, Chal­lock, was law­fully killed as “he fled armed po­lice fol­low­ing an armed rob­bery. That he re­sisted ar­rest and dis­patched a sawn-off shot­gun and shots were re­turned by armed po­lice.”

The cause of death was mul­ti­ple gun­shot wounds.

The court was told of the Metropoli­tan Po­lice op­er­a­tion – in part­ner­ship with Kent Po­lice – to catch the gang re­spon­si­ble for a se­ries of armed raids made dur­ing ATM de­liv­er­ies at build­ing so­ci­eties in south-east Lon­don and Kent.

Ev­i­dence was taken from the of­fi­cers in­volved, in­clud­ing the of­fi­cer who fired the fa­tal shots – known only as Echo 19 and who tes­ti­fied from be­hind a screen to pre­serve his anonymity.

Haines’s widow Gil­lian was among those in court to hear that the of­fi­cers – sur­veil­lance teams and CO19 firearms spe­cial­ists – had been ly­ing in wait, po­si­tioned at the front of the Na­tion­wide and to­wards the rear, close to an al­ley­way which led to a car park where Haines’s col­league Dean Jenk­ins was wait­ing in a get­away ve­hi­cle.

High in­ten­sity light

Ac­cord­ing to ev­i­dence from of­fi­cers, Haines, dressed in black and car­ry­ing a shot­gun, grabbed the se­cu­rity guard while mak­ing his fourth de­liv­ery to the build­ing so­ci­ety at about 7.50pm, took him in­side, be­fore flee­ing the scene with £105,000 in cash by run­ning up the ad­ja­cent al­ley­way.

Of­fi­cers ran af­ter him. It was at the en­trance to the car park, from the al­ley­way, that the shoot­ing occurred.

Echo 19, armed with a G36 car­bine fit­ted with high in­ten­sity light, was one of four armed of­fi­cers to pur­sue Haines.

Re­fer­ring to Echo 19’s ini­tial con­fronta­tion with Haines, Dr Wil­cox said: “At this point, he did not feel that his life was un­der threat be­cause the bar­rel (of Haines’ gun) was point­ing up. “He shouted, ‘Armed po­lice!’ “The fig­ure flinched.” Dr Wil­cox went on to the ex­plain that, ac­cord­ing to Echo 19, Haines “piv­oted with amaz­ing speed...brought down the gun and Echo 19 saw a flash...and heard a loud bang.

“Echo 19 stated at this point he thought Haines was try­ing to kill him or his friends.

“In re­sponse, he fired two shots rapidly, aim­ing for the cen­tral mass of Haines’s body.”

She added: “Haines did not seem to re­act af­ter the two shots and Echo 19 was wor­ried he had missed.

“He was still fac­ing to­wards him and fired a third shot to neu­tralise the threat.”

Dr Wil­cox re­ported that Echo 19 later told a col­league, co­de­named Fox­trot 3: “I shot him. He had a gun. He fired at me, I shot him.”

Fel­low of­fi­cers and se­cu­rity guards agreed that warn­ing shouts were fol­lowed by shots.

A Tazer stun gun was also used on Haines fol­low­ing the shoot­ing as of­fi­cers feared that he might still pose a threat, though the post mortem ex­am­i­na­tion re­vealed that the Tazer’s barbs did not pierce his body.

Of­fi­cers ad­min­is­tered first aid to Haines and he was taken to Ash­ford’s William Har­vey Hospi­tal by am­bu­lance crew where he later died.

Dr Wil­cox noted that the shot­gun was found about 15ft to 20ft from Haines.

She said: “It would seem that no wit­nesses have been able to help the court at all...with how the shot­gun came to be so far away from Haines’s body.”

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