A police officer who admitted altering his notes about the death of Jean Charles de Menezes has been cleared following an inquiry. The Special Branch officer deleted text from his computer note before speaking to the inquest in October last year.
The IPCC said the officer, known as “Owen”, had acted naively, but found no evidence of deliberate deception.
Last October, the officer told the inquest he deleted a line from computer notes which quoted Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick. The note had originally claimed Dick had initially said the electrician could “run onto Tube as not carrying anything”. But at the inquest he said: “On reflection, I looked at that and thought ‘I cannot actually say that’.” The officer, a supervisor in the operations room at Scotland Yard, told the court he had removed the line because he believed it was “wrong and gave a totally false impression”. [BBC]
So this man altered his notes so that there was no record that Menezes was believed not to be carrying anything. Another officer altered the surveillance log after the event, though admitted doing so only after forensics revealed that the alteration had been made:
Part of [the log], in Laurence’s handwriting, read: “A split second view of his face. And I believed it was not NT.” NT is the acronym for Nettletip, the code name for failed July 21 suicide bomber Hussain Osman.The evidence from surveillance officer “Ivor” in that same story is worth quoting:
Scientific analysis showed that the words “and” and “not” were added after the rest of the entry.
Laurence had been given “words of advice” over the incident, but his senior officers had accepted he had not changed the log with “wrong intent”, the inquest heard. [BBC]
The surveillance officer said Mr de Menezes was wearing appropriate clothes for the weather that day, noting: “He was dressed virtually identical to myself.”Or, to put it another way, he was wearing unseasonably bulky clothing and carrying a bag, had been acting suspiciously on the way to the underground, was challenged by officers in the ticket hall, vaulted over the ticket barriers to get away from them and ran on to a train where armed officers chased and overpowered him, at which point he again acted aggressively exactly like a suicide bomber, which is why they had no choice but to shoot him in the head. All of which, apart from the “overpowering and shooting in the head” part, is a complete fabrication, but was submitted as fact in the initial police evidence to the post-mortem.
Mr Mansfield told the inquest Mr de Menezes had his denim jacket undone “at all times” and was not carrying a bag.
That makes three verifiable falsifications in this case. Then there’s the claim by the police that the CCTV system was not working in Stockwell tube that day, which is at some variance with the staff’s claim that it was working fine and they had in fact handed the tapes over to the police. There are the claims by the police, both official and leaked, that de Menezes’s death was linked to, variously, (a) his visa status, (b) his occasional cocaine use or (c) a rape allegation that was quickly found to be false. And, looming over all this, there’s the fact that we probably wouldn’t know the half of any of this if someone working at the IPCC hadn’t leaked the details to the press because she was not confident that they would ever be released in full to the public.
The lesson here: try not to get mistaken for someone of a completely different ethnicity and then shot by CO19 due to massive human error because, although in the end the truth will probably stagger wheezily into view, in the meantime the Met, as well as covering their own tracks, will do everything to discredit you up to, but not excluding, exhuming your body and filming it having sex with a child.