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G20 policeman's evidence 'absurd'

The policeman who pushed Ian Tomlinson to the ground was branded "absurd" as he said the newspaper seller was "almost inviting" physical confrontation.

Relatives walked out on Mr Tomlinson's inquest in tears as Pc Simon Harwood was accused of talking "rubbish" and "lying".

The officer, who said he had been trained to use his baton, was challenged over claims in his statement that Mr Tomlinson was inviting the confrontation during the G20 protests two years ago and his push was just a "gesture".

"He (Mr Tomlinson) just looked as if he was going to stay where he was whatever and was almost inviting physical confrontation in terms of being moved on," the statement said.

The family's lawyer, Matthew Ryder QC, asked: "Is that true, Pc Harwood?" The officer replied "Yes", and then denied claims that he was trying to make an example of Mr Tomlinson. Video footage appeared to contradict claims that Mr Tomlinson had "stopped moving" and did not have his back turned when he was sent plunging to the pavement.

When Pc Harwood repeated his evidence that he saw Mr Tomlinson "walking into a police line", Mr Ryder said: "I suggest to you the answer you are trying to give is absurd."

The officer maintained that "from his angle" it appeared Mr Tomlinson was not moving away. Mr Ryder responded: "That is rubbish, I suggest to you, Pc Harwood - and you know it."

As Pc Harwood's evidence continued, Mr Ryder added: "The problem is that we have video of that day when you were there."

The inquest was shown footage of Mr Tomlinson standing near a bike shed before his confrontation with police at the Royal Exchange Buildings. Family members - including Mr Tomlinson's widow - were reduced to tears as Pc Harwood repeated his claim that he was "here to help".

It is the third day of evidence from Pc Harwood at the International Dispute Resolution Centre in London's Fleet Street.


From Belfast Telegraph