Inquest finds man shot by police in Kent had been 'lawfully killed'

021220-William Smith-Kent Police
William Smith Credit: Kent Police

An inquest jury on Wednesday (2 December) concluded that a fugitive shot dead by police in Goudhurst four years ago was lawfully killed.

William Smith was wanted on suspicion of the murder of businessman Roy Blackman on 1 May 2016, when he was found hiding in a shed on an orchard in Goudhurst, near Tunbridge Wells.

Earlier on, a jury was told by the counsel to the inquest, Christopher Sutton-Mattocks, that two armed officers fired two shots each at Mr Smith, at 8.30pm. One missed, the other three struck him in the head and chest. 

They had opened fire after seeing what appeared to them to be the barrel of a shotgun poking out from behind a chair, the inquest heard. 

A post-mortem examination of Mr Smith’s blood found an alcohol level of 229mg per 100ml. More than twice the drink-drive limit of 80mg.

Deputy Chief Constable of Kent Police Tony Blaker said: "This has clearly been a very difficult time for Mr Smith’s family and friends and we extend our sympathy to them for their loss. We also recognise the significant impact that this incident, and the events that led up to it, will have had on all those involved including victims of crime, their families and the local community."

He went on to say that Kent Police firearms officers are trained 'to the very highest, nationally-accredited standard and are subject to a rigorous re-accreditation regime'.