08 June 2021

Man shot dead by police was lawfully killed – inquest

08 June 2021

A jury has found that a father who was fatally shot by Metropolitan Police officers after telling them he had a gun was lawfully killed, police have confirmed.

Richard Cottier, 41, was shot at a petrol station in Romford east London, in the early hours of April 9 2018 after telling police he had taken a drug overdose, making threats and claiming to have a firearm.

Officers arrived at the Esso petrol station in Collier Row Road following a call from Mr Cottier at 3.50am.

Richard Cottier inquest (PA Media)

The father-of-three was shot at around 4.45am and was pronounced dead at the scene about half-an-hour later.

The police watchdog said that a non-police firearm was recovered from the scene following the incident and that a ballistics expert had confirmed the weapon was a modified air rifle.

An inquest into his death at Barking Town Hall previously heard from Mr Cottier’s long-term partner that his actions had been a “cry for help”.

Scotland Yard confirmed on Tuesday that the jury had come to a unanimous decision that Mr Cottier’s death was a lawful killing.

In a statement, the force sent its “deepest” condolences to the family of Mr Cottier.

Commander Kyle Gordon, of the Met’s specialist firearms command, said: “My deepest condolences are today with the family of Richard Cottier.

“Mr Cottier died suddenly in difficult circumstances and I know they will continue to deeply grieve his loss.

“My thoughts are also with the officers involved and their families, they too will have been deeply impacted by these tragic events.”

My colleagues that met Mr Cottier that morning acted in accordance with both their training and my expectations

But Mr Gordon said that officers had acted with an “honestly held belief” that Mr Cottier had a working firearm.

He added: “My firearms colleagues are highly trained professionals, asked on behalf of us all to manage the most high-risk and complex policing situations and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, they are able to do this without the need to use force of any kind.

“Unfortunately, on some occasions such as this, officers find themselves faced with a situation where they have no choice other than to use force.

“Based on the information available to them on April 9 2018, my colleagues deployed with an honestly held belief that Mr Cottier had a working firearm in his possession.

“My colleagues that met Mr Cottier that morning acted in accordance with both their training and my expectations. When Mr Cottier lifted the weapon he was holding towards the officers, they were forced to act.

“Unfortunately, this resulted in Mr Cottier being fatally injured.”

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