Police ‘gave no warning before shooting dead de Menezes’
TWO Scotland Yard marksmen shot Jean Charles de Menezes to death on a crowded Tube train without any warning, an inquest heard yesterday.
The officers have insisted they yelled “armed police” moments before they killed the Brazilian in mistake for a suicide bomber.
But they were contradicted yesterday by three passengers who were within feet of Mr de Menezes when he was shot.
Rachel Wilson, who was so close she was covered in the young man’s blood, mistook the plain clothes marksmen for terrorists. She told the inquest: “It was only when I left the carriage and somebody moved me gently out of the way that I figured they must be good guys.”
Asked if she heard shouts of “armed police”, Ms Wilson replied: “If I had heard that, I would have thought they were police, so no.”
Ms Wilson was on the Northern Line train at Stockwell, South London, with her boyfriend Ralph Livock. Mr Livock and fellow passenger Wesley Merrill also said they heard no warnings.
Mr de Menezes, 27, was shot seven times on July 22 2005, the day after would-be suicide bombers failed to repeat the carnage of the July 7 attacks on London’s public transport system.
He was tailed to Stockwell Underground station from his home in a block of flats in Tulse Hill, South London. The young Brazilian was mistaken for failed July 21 bomber Hussain Osman, who was believed to be hiding in a flat in the same block.
Ms Wilson, who was sitting opposite Mr de Menezes, told the jury she had no idea the casually-dressed men with guns were police officers.
She said: “First, I thought they were messing around. Then I thought they were terrorists.” She was pressed on whether she heard anyone say anything before the shooting. Ms Wilson was adamant she did not and added: “That’s one of the things I recall the most – the silence.”
Mr Livock said his first impression was that the men with guns were “a group of lads just having a laugh”.
He told the jury: “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. The thing that made me realise it wasn’t a group of lads playing around was when the first shot was fired.”
As he and Ms Wilson sat on the train, he heard someone outside the carriage shouting something like: “He’s here.”
Seconds later, a man brandishing a pistol got on the train and levelled it at the Brazilian.
Mr Livock told the jury: “Mr de Menezes as if he was expecting somebody to say something but he didn’t look frightened. He looked as if he was waiting for somebody to tell him what was going on.”
After the shooting Ms Wilson and Mr Livock fled by Tube to nearby Pimlico, where a reluctant station employee agreed to alert police only when he saw blood on Ms Wilson’s hands. He failed to get through.
Joined by six fellow passengers, the couple went to a nearby pub where the landlord phoned police. It took an hour for officers to arrive and take statements.
Mr Merrill recalled that a man came on to the train, pointed at Mr de Menezes and said something like: “That’s the guy.” The passenger told the hearing: “He looked like an undercover police officer.”
Earlier in the hearing the two marksmen who killed Mr de Menezes – known only as C2 and C12 – insisted they both shouted warnings. The hearing continues.
RED ALERT: Police vehicles outside Stockwell Tube station after the shooting
GUNNED DOWN: Mr de Menezes ‘did not look frightened’