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Inquiry used to establish how Azelle Rodney died

Azelle Rodney. Credit: Police handout

Closing arguments are heard in the inquiry into the death of Azelle Rodney, a 24-year-old man who died in April 2005 after being shot six times by a Metropolitan Police officer.

An earlier Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation confirmed that Rodney was not holding a gun at the time of his shooting.

The inquiry marks the first time that a public inquiry, rather than an inquest, has been used to establish how a person came to their death, and comes after the government was forced to apologise to Rodney's mother for a delay in holding a prompt investigation into the matter.

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  1. Ronke Phillips, Crime Correspondent

Rodney: Police officer in the dock

An inquiry is being held instead of an inquest because of the sensitive information which could not be disclosed to the coroner.

The inquiry into Azelle Rodney's death heard that during an incident in the 1980s the officer E7 shot two men and injured another two.

Rodney was gunned down by the officer after the car he was travelling in was stopped by police in April 2005.

The inquiry heard the police officer who killed Azelle Rodney had shot two other people dead during his career

Officer granted anonymity during public inquiry

The officer, who was first firearms trained in the early 1980s, tried putting a ballistic shield in the car he was using, but it blocked access to the door handle.

When asked why he had done this, he said:

I was the person that was going to be right next to someone with a sub-machine gun.

It wasn't the first time that we had confronted dangerous people armed with that type of weaponry.

This was high on the scale of danger but it was certainly no more dangerous than other operations that we'd carried out over the years.

The officer has been granted anonymity during the public inquiry, and members of the press were banned from the courtroom as he gave evidence, listening to audio feed from a separate room.

Inquiry into death because of sensitive information

An inquiry is being held into Azelle Rodney's death instead of an inquest because of sensitive information that would have to be withheld from a coroner.

On the day Mr Rodney was killed - April 30 - E7 said he was concerned that the three men in the car might have a sub-machine gun.

The VW Golf they were in was under surveillance for many hours before it was brought to a stop and E7 opened fire within a second of pulling up beside the car.

He said they feared the gang had "a fairly compact weapon that could fire in excess of 1,000 rounds a minute, that's 18 rounds per second".

The reality is that these people would be untrained, and actually an untrained person with a high-capacity, high-repetition sub-machine gun is more dangerous than a trained person.

– E7

Gun policeman had killed before

Azelle Rodney. Credit: Family handout

The police officer who killed Azelle Rodney had shot two other people dead during his career, an inquiry has heard.

Mr Rodney, 24, was gunned down by the officer, identified only as E7, after the car in which he was travelling was stopped by police in Edgware, north London in April 2005.

The police team believed he was part of an armed gang who were on their way to rob drug dealers.

The inquiry into Mr Rodney's death heard that during an incident in the 1980s E7 shot two men and injured another two.

Inquests into the men's deaths later found that they had been lawfully killed, and the officer received a commendation from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner for his conduct.

The two injured men were later tried and jailed.

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Inquiry into fatal police shooting in Edgware

The inquiry into the death of Azelle Rodney continues and expert witnesses are expected to give evidence into the fatal police shooting.

Rodney, 24, was killed when Metropolitan Police officers carried out a "hard stop" on a VW Golf in Edgware, north London, on April 30, 2005.

Police officers John Terry and Christopher Heerey are two of the witnesses who will be giving evidence.

Hearing adjourned until tomorrow

The inquiry heard that Mr Rodney was wanted over an allegation of grievous bodily harm when he was accused of hitting and stabbing someone.

However, the officers involved in the stop did not know this, and therefore the possibility of arresting him before the suspected drugs robbery was not raised.

Instead they were aiming to intercept the robbers once the group had armed themselves.On the day of the shooting, it was decided that three unmarked police cars would form a box for the hard stop.

The surveillance teams did lock on to Mr Lovell, they locked on to men at a cafe. It became clear that the suspects were arming themselves, and the intelligence indicated that the men who had been picked up by the surveillance officers were on their way to carry out the offence.

– Mr Underwood

The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow.

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