'Aggressive and violent' man shot by police kept handgun in a box in his bedroom, inquest hears
A man who was shot dead by police during an attempted arrest had threatened to kill his ex-partner and sent her a WhatsApp video of a handgun, an inquest has heard.
In a statement read to the court the woman described Trevor Smith as “aggressive” and “violent” and said she ended the relationship in January 2019.
The same month, he sent her a video of the gun on a cream sofa which she recognised as his. “He was talking saying he would do me in,” she said.
Mr Smith, a van driver, was shot once in his apartment in a block of flats near Birmingham city centre, during an attempt to detain him in the early hours of March 15 2019.
The shot ricocheted off Mr Smith's bedframe before striking him, a Birmingham Coroner's Court inquest heard on Tuesday. An imitation firearm was recovered at the scene.
At the start of the inquest, jurors were told the attempt to arrest Mr Smith by firearms officers was prompted after claims he had been threatening his ex-partner.
She spoke of an earlier occasion in 2018 when Mr Smith had pushed her on to a bed and held a gun to her head, saying he would kill her if she did not listen to him.
The month after the relationship ended, Mr Smith accused her of having an affair. “He messaged me saying I had to watch my back,” she said.
She then made a further police complaint in early March 2019, after receiving two "sympathy" greetings cards, on one of which was her photograph, and which read: "RIP, you're always in our thoughts - not."
Detective Inspector Westley Martin told the inquest police were investigating Mr Smith on suspicion of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and a separate offence of harassment.
He also said intelligence received ahead of the attempt to arrest Mr Smith at his home in Lee Bank had indicated he kept the handgun in a box under his bed.
At the start of the hearing, Senior Coroner, Louise Hunt, detailed the evidence the jury would be hearing over the next few weeks.
She said police found Mr Smith at the end of the bed with a duvet held in front of him - with one of his arms not visible.
"Soon after, Mr Smith drops the duvet and one of his limbs moves. Very shortly after, one of the firearms officers discharges his weapon. A single shot is fired.
"It hits the bed frame and ricochets into Mr Smith, causing fatal injuries. First aid was provided to him, an ambulance attends, but unfortunately he is declared deceased at the scene."
Earlier, Mr Smith’s sister, Lorna, had read a statement on behalf of his family. The father of two was described as “full of charisma”.
“He was caring and had a kind and generous spirit,” she told the jury. “His heart belonged to his family.
“Trevor’s life mattered and he did not deserve to lose it in this way. Someone took my brother’s life in three seconds.”
She said the family had also not been notified of her brother’s death by the authorities but instead had learned of it via social media.
The inquest continues.