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A police marksman who shot Cherry Groce was on the brink of tears as he told an inquest how he saw her sink to the floor. Inspector Douglas Lovelock had to pause several times as he recounted the raid:
The witness statement continued:
A witness statement from Cherry Groce was read at her inquest today. It was given to police in October 1985, a few days after she was shot by a police officer at her home in Brixton.
The statement read: "I was in my bed when I heard a rushing noise outside my bedroom door. The door was then pushed open. I was pushed back by police officers. I saw a man holding a small gun. He was aiming the gun at me. He didn't say anything. The next thing I heard was a shot fired."
A son of the woman whose shooting by the police sparked the 1985 Brixton riots recalled seeing her struggling for breath as she lay bleeding on the bedroom floor. Lee Lawrence told the inquest into her death that he remembered screaming hysterically when police burst in and shot her.
The armed raid on the home of Cherry Groce in 1985 had "serious deficiencies", the inquest into her death has been told.
This was among the conclusions of Assistant Chief Constable West Yorkshire police John Domaille, who produced a 357-page report on the incident.
In summing up the conclusions made in the Domaille report, Dexter Dias QC for the Groce family said:
An inquest into the death of Cherry Groce, whose shooting by police sparked the Brixton riots, is due to begin today.
- Cherry Groce was paralysed below the waist when she was accidentally shot by police at her home in 1985.
- Officers were seeking her son, Michael, during an early morning raid.
- Cherry Groce died in April 2011, having spent 26 years in a wheelchair.
- Ministers overturned a decision to block legal aid for lawyers to represent Mrs Groce's family at the inquest after a petition attracted 130,000 signatures.
- The Legal Aid Agency initially denied funding but referred the case to ministers following a campaign by her relatives and Labour MP Chuka Umunna.
- The inquest into Mrs Groce's death comes after documents obtained by Channel 4 News revealed that a pathologist for the family and a pathologist for the police both concluded there is a causal link between the shooting and her death.
An inquest into the death of a mother whose shooting sparked the 1985 Brixton riots is due to take place today. Cherry Groce was paralysed below the waist when she was accidentally shot by police looking for her son, Michael, during an early morning raid on her home.
Mrs Groce's son Lee Lawrence, who was 11 years old when he saw his mother shot, said: