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Policeman ‘feared for life during foot chase’

A policeman who fired six shots at a convicted drug dealer during a double murder investigation has claimed he only did so because he feared for his own life.

Giving evidence at Belfast Crown Court, acting Sergeant Stephen Mathieson told the jury that as he chased Kyle Wylie — who had fled from a car police were following — Wylie pointed a black handgun at him.

The officer claimed that as he chased Wylie through the Gracehill Court area of north Belfast, he shouted: “Police, stop, stop, stop or I'll shoot.” He added that when he looked at Wylie “his left hand came back towards me... there was a black gun”.

Recounting how he fired three shots at Wylie, Mathieson told the court: “I feared for myself and also for Sergeant Bradley who was behind me.” He said he would not have shot at Wylie if he had not been in fear for his own life.

Giving evidence last week, Wylie said he was unarmed and knew nothing about the murders.

Mathieson, whose address was given as c/o Grosvenor Road PSNI Station, denies four charges of attempted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm on March 17 2007.

He told defence QC Charles Adair that the weekend before the shooting, a dissident republican group had killed two men in the west of the city. As part of the probe, he said, police were trying to arrest a man connected to a Ford Focus car which was found abandoned at Allworthy Avenue in north Belfast and that police had information that the man had left a house on the Cliftonville Road in a green Rover car.

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Mathieson told the lawyer that as he and Sgt Bradley drove along the Cliftonville Road, they spotted a green Rover with an unmarked CID car tailing it. They took over the lead position, putting on sirens and lights. The Rover, driven by Wylie, sped off, and later the foot chase began. At hearing.

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