Judge: 'No lawful justification' for shooting suspect

A police marksman who gunned down 24-year-old robbery suspect Azelle Rodney had no reason to believe that he had picked up a weapon and there was "no lawful justification" for shooting him dead, according to a damning official report published today.

A police marksman could face trial for gunning down a robbery suspect after a former judge found there was "no lawful justification" for killing the 24-year-old.

Mr Rodney was shot six times, once each in the arm and back, and, fatally, four times in the head.

In the report published today, Sir Christopher Holland found: "There was no lawful justification for shooting Azelle Rodney so as to kill him. Granted that E7 had an honest belief that Azelle Rodney posed a threat to himself or to other officers, this threat was then not such as to make it reasonably necessary to shoot at him."

E7 has written to the inquiry to claim that the findings against him are "irrational", and could ask for a judicial review.

Leslie Thomas from Garden Court Chambers, Azelle Rodney's mother Susan Alexander and Solicitor Daniel Machover. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

During the 11-week public inquiry it emerged that he had previously shot two men dead during an incident in the 1980s, and later received a commendation for his actions.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided in 2006 that no criminal charges could be brought in the Rodney case, but today a spokesman said the CPS is looking at it again.

Mr Rodney's mother Susan Alexander said the report backed her view that her son was "executed", and demanded an apology from Scotland Yard and the IPCC.

"When I gave evidence to the inquiry on September 4, 2012, I said that it seemed to me that Azelle was executed. The chairman's report, after detailed study of the evidence, is that he is sure and satisfied he shares my view."

Azelle Rodney. Credit: Metropolitan Police

Mr Rodney could have survived the first two shots, to his arm and back, but not the remaining four to his head.

The executive summary of the report said: "The report asks whether E7 believed, for good reason, that Azelle Rodney presented a threat to his life or that of his colleagues such that it was proportionate to open fire on him with a lethal weapon. The answer is that he did not."

Sir Christopher found that even if E7 had believed that Mr Rodney had picked up an automatic weapon, shooting him dead would not have been justified.