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Leslie Thomas, lawyer of Mark Duggan's loved ones, tells jury 'no need to fire fatal shot'
The lawyer representing the loved ones of Mark Duggan told the inquest into his death that officers could have stopped him without firing the fatal shot.
This afternoon, Leslie Thomas cross-examined the specialist firearms officer who killed Mr Duggan on August 4, 2011, after he was stopped by police in Ferry Lane, Tottenham.
The 29-year-old's death sparked riots across London and across the country.
Earlier today, the officer told the inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice, that he saw Mark Duggan get out of the minicab with a gun in his hand.
The officer claims he opened fire in self-defence and that he feared for his life and the life of his colleagues.
According to the marksman, Mr Duggan was standing upright and faced the officer before the first shot was fired.
He said the 29-year-old had his elbow bent, arm against his stomach and was holding the gun parallel to the ground.
The officer said he fired the first shot from his MP5 rifle after Mr Duggan moved his wrist away from his body and pointed the gun at him.
The bullet hit Mr Duggan in the chest and caused his right shoulder to flinch away from the officer.
But with the gun was still pointing at him, the officer “honestly” believed Mr Duggan might shoot, so he discharged another bullet which hit the 29-year-old in the bicep.
However, during the cross-examination Mr Thomas suggested that the forensic evidence did not support this story.
Ballistics evidence showed that the bullet which passed through Mr Duggan’s chest went through at a downward angle – entering his chest and exiting through his lower back.
The bullet also travelled from Mr Duggan’s right side and left his back on the left side.
Evidence showed that the bullet which travelled through his bicep was travelling straight and horizontally.
Speak to the officer, Mr Thomas said: “I’m going to suggest to you that the first bullet fired was the one which went through Mr Duggan’s bicep.”
He went on to suggest that after Mr Duggan was hit in the arm he twisted and bent forward.
Mr Thomas said: “Mr Duggan would have to have been bent over for the bullet to have gone through his chest at that angle.”
The officer repeatedly said that he was holding the gun at shoulder height and was firing shots parallel to the ground.
The lawyer representing Mr Duggan added: “The way you have told the story is if you had shot him in the chest first then you would have had to have shot him from a downward angle.”
Mr Thomas suggested that if the first bullet had gone through Mr Duggan’s bicep then he would have been sufficiently incapacitated and there would have been no need to fire the bullet which passed through his chest – and killed him.
During his evidence the marksman said his eyes were glued to the gun during the shooting - which lasted “seconds”.
He confirmed that the gun found in the grass was the one Mr Duggan had pointed at him. He said that he had seen Mark Duggan fall with the gun still in his hand but could not explain how the gun ended between 10 to 20 feet away.
The officer told the jury: "My focus was glued on the gun."
He added: "It's 804 days since this happened and I'm 100 per cent sure he was in possession of a gun on shot one and shot two."
The coroner, Keith Cutler, asked: "Suddenly the gun disappears?" The officer replied: "Yes."
Ian Stern, the lawyer who represents the armed officers, asked the marksman how it felt to have a gun pointed at him.
The officer said: “It’s not very pleasant. I’m a dad and I wanted to go home and see my kids.
“All I want to do is help people and all I thought when I saw the gun was – not to use industrial language – ‘oh sugar’.”
The inquest continues.