Yassar Yaqub inquest: Officer who fired fatal shots on M62 'feared for his life'

Yassar Yaqub, who was shot dead by police
Yassar Yaqub died aged 28 in January 2017. Credit: Family photo

A police officer who shot dead a man on the M62 in West Yorkshire said he did so because he "feared for his life", an inquest has heard.

Yassar Yaqub, 28, was the front seat passenger in one of two cars travelling in convoy when he was fatally shot on 2 January 2017.

Officers had been following Mr Yaqub and his associates in an operation targeting suspected criminal activity.

Four unmarked police vehicles surrounded the Audi A4 Mr Yaqub was travelling in at junction 24 near Huddersfield when the incident unfolded.

Giving evidence for the first time, the police officer who pulled the trigger, known only as V39, told Mr Yaqub's inquest at Leeds Crown Court he "had no alternative".

He said he leaned out of his car and pointed his gun into the Audi while shouting "armed police, show me your hands" three times.

The driver showed his hands but Mr Yaqub did not, the officer said. Instead, Mr Yaqub leaned forward and picked up a gun.

Officer V39 told the jury: "I discharged my firearm fearing for my life as well as for my colleagues who I knew would be approaching the vehicle.

"I had no alternative because I knew I would have been shot."

He told the jury he fired three shots because "the first shot did not stop the threat".

Two of the bullets went into the windscreen and fatally wounded Mr Yaqub. The third went into the sat nav console.

The inquest has already heard that the officers were involved in a long-running operation aimed at minimising Mr Yaqub's risk to two men.

Intelligence suggested one or more of the men may have a firearm when they were stopped on the day of Mr Yaqub's death.

The inquest, which has already heard three weeks of evidence, is due to last for eight weeks.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.