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Gun death Pc widow hits out at CPS

The widow of a policeman shot dead by a colleague in a bungled training exercise has criticised his former force and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Joanne Terry, whose husband Ian, 32, was killed in June 2008 after the firearms training incident in Manchester, said she was "disappointed and devastated" at the decisions of the CPS not to bring charges through insufficient evidence against the police officer who shot her husband, or Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

Mrs Terry spoke after the Health and Safety Executive said they would prosecute GMP over breaching safety law, 24 hours after the CPS decision was made public. Two GMP officers are also being prosecuted by the HSE.

An inquest held at Manchester Coroner's Court in March 2010 found that Pc Terry was unlawfully killed. The jury ruled there was a catalogue of failures not only by the officer who shot Pc Terry but also in the planning, training and safety measures.

Pc Terry, from Burnley, Lancashire, brandished an unloaded handgun during the exercise while playing the role of a criminal fleeing in a car. He was gunned down by his close friend as the unit practised in a disused factory.

On seeing him holding the gun the officer, granted anonymity by Nigel Meadows, coroner for Manchester, and identified only as Chris, told the jury he acted "instinctively" and pulled the trigger on his Remington 870 pump-action 12-bore shotgun.

Pc Terry, who was not wearing body armour, was hit from a distance of about 12 inches by a blank round of a specialist ammunition called round irritant personnel, which is not designed to kill but can be deadly at such close range.

Mrs Terry said: "Our family is disappointed and devastated by the view of the CPS that a human being shot and killed unjustifiably can still be acceptable in the eyes of the law.

"Having a jury believe, after hearing all the evidence available in this case, that Ian's death was unlawful, it is confusing and frustrating that we are now in receipt of a document written by the CPS stating that they consider there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of a conviction at court.

"There is CCTV footage of the shooting, which we have seen, and there are several police witnesses, so we are shocked that the CPS are of the opinion there is insufficient evidence to proceed and we are disappointed that after the officer who killed Ian gave evidence at the inquest that he did not know why he fired at Ian, offering no explanation or justification, the CPS appear to have taken it upon themselves to defend Ian's killer by explaining his actions as a serious error rather than allowing a jury to decide."

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