Nothing medics could ‘reasonably do’ to save Streatham terrorist – pathologist
There was nothing paramedics could “reasonably do” to save the life of Streatham terrorist Sudesh Amman after he was shot at close range by undercover police, a forensic pathologist has said.
Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl, who carried out a post-mortem examination on Amman, was asked at the inquest into his death whether the attacker could realistically have been kept alive if he had received earlier medical attention.
The 20-year-old was shot dead by armed undercover police outside a Boots store on Streatham High Road, south London, after rampaging down the street on Sunday February 2 2020.
The frenzied incident lasted just 62 seconds, during which Amman stabbed two random members of the public.
Jurors at the Royal Courts of Justice heard that Amman was found to be wearing a suicide belt – which turned out to be fake – and was not treated by medics until more than 80 minutes after being shot.
Giving evidence on Friday, Dr Fegan-Earl described the four firearms-related injuries inflicted to Amman’s neck, abdomen and arms by two police officers – known as BX75 and BX87 – caused by “three or four bullets”.
He said a “guttered firearm related injury” was found on Amman’s left wrist, likely to have been caused by a bullet passing across the area, that would not have been fatal.
Another wound was inflicted on the inner right arm with a similar “tangential passage” that would also not have been fatal, jurors were told.
Dr Fegan-Earl said he had tracked the passage of a bullet that entered Amman’s body through the right side of his abdomen and lodged into the bone at the back of his pelvis, which, in his view, was “potentially an independent fatal injury”.
Another bullet entered his lower neck and passed through large blood vessels at its base before travelling down through the right lung and exiting the back of his body.
“This was undoubtedly an independently fatal injury and I would expect more bleeding [than the abdominal injury],” said Dr Fegan-Earl.
Asked whether a quicker medical response may have saved Amman’s life, he replied: “They key issue here is time.
“Time is the enemy of survival in these issues.
“Unless such individuals (paramedics) could be able to access him within just a few minutes, I do not believe there was a reasonable opportunity to save him.”
Jurors heard the formal cause of Amman’s death was given as “shock and haemorrhage due to gunshot wounds to neck and abdomen”.
Dr Fegan-Earl added it was “simply not possible” to say which firearm had caused which injury.
They have responded extremely quickly... and they have calmly responded to that threat and ultimately saved quite a lot of lives
Superintendent Ross McKibbin, of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Unit, drew attention to the bravery of officers BX75 and BX87, who contained the situation despite knowing about the presence of a potential bomb.
“Any potential improvised explosive device is treated as if it is real until it is known otherwise,” he said.
“Improvised explosive devices are normally known to be extremely volatile… so you would be moving back to minimum distance which (in this case) would be about 50 metres.”
“What you can see is officers keeping inside the 50 metres to protect members of the public,” he said.
“We have to recognise the bravery of those officers doing that.”
He added he was “immensely proud” of the officers, who had acted with “utmost bravery” despite the “fiendishly difficult” circumstances.
“There are always things to learn in every deployment (but)… I am immensely proud of the officers involved in this operation,” he said.
“They have responded extremely quickly… and they have calmly responded to that threat and ultimately saved quite a lot of lives.”
The inquest previously heard sections of statements by Amman’s two victims, neither of whom were named. Both of them survived.
The male victim said he feared he would bleed to death after overhearing paramedics saying “he’s not going to make it” while being treated in an ambulance.
The woman, named in reports at the time as Monika Luftner, suffered a 2cm (1in) wound to her back and was sent home from hospital later that day.
Amman had only been released from Belmarsh prison 10 days earlier after serving part of a 40-month sentence for terror offences, despite pleas from police and MI5 to detain him for longer amid concerns that he remained a danger to the public.
Amman, who was of Sri Lankan descent and was raised in Coventry and Birmingham before moving to Harrow in north-west London, was seen buying four small bottles of Irn-Bru, some parcel tape and kitchen foil from a nearby Poundland on January 31 – which he used to make his hoax-vest.
The inquest was adjourned until Monday.
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