No conclusions in English riots shooting: probe

20th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The probe into the police shooting of a man which triggered the English riots in August has yet to establish fully the circumstances of his death, investigators said Saturday.

In a statement, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said the sequence of events was not yet known, following a report in The Guardian newspaper which claimed the probe had found no forensic evidence that Mark Duggan was carrying a gun when he was shot dead by police.

Duggan was shot on August 4 in Tottenham, north London. A subsequent demonstration in the district escalated into a riot, which in turn spread into an unprecedented frenzy of looting and arson across the capital and beyond.

An inquest heard the 29-year-old died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

The Guardian said a gun collected by Duggan had been recovered 10 to 14 feet (three to 4.25 metres) away from his body on the other side of a low fence, and that he was killed outside the vehicle he was travelling in.

There was overwhelming evidence that Duggan had obtained a firearm that day, but the investigation is considering whether he had the weapon in his possession when he was shot, the report said.

The IPCC said in a statement that the probe was examining a range of issues.

"This is a complex investigation that involves gathering information including witness statements, pathology, forensics and ballistics analysis and we have stated to the coroner that it will be completed within four to six months.

"One of the key elements we will seek to establish is the sequence of events concerning the non-police issue firearm found at the scene. That has not been established yet, contrary to what has been written in The Guardian.

"We would urge people not to rush to judgment until our investigation is complete and they have the opportunity to see and hear the full evidence themselves."

Scotland Yard police headquarters stressed that it was "premature to draw any conclusions" about the findings of the investigation.

Duggan, a father of four, was travelling in a taxi which was stopped by a police unit investigating armed crime in the black community.

The incident was the touchpaper for riots to break out across London before disturbances spread to other major cities including Birmingham and Manchester.

Across England, five people were killed and hundreds of shops were looted, with some set alight.

More than 3,000 people have been arrested in connection with the riots in London alone, with more than 1,800 charged.

© 2011 AFP

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