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G20 policeman apologises to family

The police officer who shoved Ian Tomlinson to the ground during the G20 protests has apologised to family members for "any way" he may be responsible for the death.

Pc Simon Harwood faced suggestions he told "half truths" and "deliberately painted a false picture of Mr Tomlinson" as he gave evidence at the inquest into the newspaper seller's death.

At one point, family lawyer Matthew Ryder QC said: "I am going to suggest to you that you are not here to help Mr Tomlinson's family but to help yourself."

The officer admitted Mr Tomlinson was no threat to him or his colleagues before he hit him with a baton and pushed him. But he denied he had used "unreasonable, unnecessary and excessive force".

As relatives of Mr Tomlinson looked on at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in London's Fleet Street, Pc Harwood said: "If it is the case that in any way I have caused Mr Tomlinson's death, I am very sorry."

During fierce questioning before a jury, Mr Ryder added later: "I am going to suggest to you when it is right there in front of you that you are willing to be evasive and lie." Pc Harwood replied: "I am not being evasive, I am not lying."

Pc Harwood said he was "amazed" his "poor push" caused the 47-year-old to plunge to the pavement. The officer said his actions were meant as "encouragement" to get Mr Tomlinson away from police lines during demonstrations.

As a jury reviewed footage of his actions, Pc Harwood said: "He wasn't moving away from the police line, he was encroaching. That's why I moved forward."

He said he had been "frightened and confused" in the tense atmosphere before Mr Tomlinson's death.

Pc Harwood, part of the Metropolitan Police's specialist Territorial Support Group (TSG), was caught on film pushing Mr Tomlinson to the ground in Cornhill, central London, during the protests two years ago.


From Belfast Telegraph