Inquest hears recording of man urging armed police to ‘go for it’

Jurors at an inquest into the death of a man who was shot by police have been played audio of him shouting “go for it” at firearms officers who had repeatedly told him to drop the gun he was carrying.

James Carlo Wilson’s father believed his son aimed to “go out in a blaze of glory” and wanted to be killed by a police marksman, the hearing in Newcastle was told.

Mr Wilson, 24, called Northumbria Police to demand armed response officers come to see him and was still on the phone when he was hit by first a plastic bullet then five seconds later by a rifle round which hit him in the chest.

Mr Wilson shouted “Ah cushty” – slang for “great” – after the first round was fired.

A loud bang was recorded on the open mobile phone line then the police officer who fired the second round called out “shots fired, first aid required”.

In the minutes before the confrontation, drunken Mr Wilson repeatedly asked the police call handler when the armed response officers were coming and made threats.

When the call handler said “so you’re not going to be peaceful”, he replied: “I’m going to shoot them you daft c***.”

Moments before the shot was fired, as officers told him “put it down”, Mr Wilson shouted “Go for it, go, go, go.”

The scene of the incident
The scene of the incident (Tom Wilkinson/PA)

Outlining the case to the jury, Newcastle coroner Karen Dilks said an air pistol was recovered from the scene outside his former partner’s home in Frenchman’s Way, South Shields, South Tyneside.

Mr Wilson died in hospital on April 1 2016, three days after he was shot.

In a statement read to the inquest, his father Carl Wilson said: “I think he wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. That’s why he did it the way he did.

“I think he wanted the police to kill him and he used the police to commit suicide.”

James Wilson, who was on crown court bail at the time, and his close friend Sean McLellan had shared 48 bottles of beer on the Easter Monday, with the shooting happening in the early hours of the next day.

At 12.57am Northumbria Police received an anonymous call, naming Mr Wilson as having a black 9mm gun and that he was in Frenchman’s Way.

The three-week inquest at the Mansion House heard that a traffic officer was sent to drive past the address in an unmarked car and saw someone holding a black object.

At 1.15am there was a second call from the same number. Mrs Dilks said: “The caller, among other threats, said he would not put the gun down, he didn’t care if anyone got hurt and he was going to shoot the officers who attended.”

Armed officers drove to the scene and parked around 30 metres away from Mr Wilson, with in-car video showing him pointing his weapon “several times” towards the officers, the coroner said.

He did not put the gun down when he was told to, Mrs Dilks said, and he was shot with an “attenuated energy projectile” – a plastic bullet – before he was hit by the rifle round fired by another officer.

Police attempted to carry out first aid at the scene and he was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary where he died.

Mr Wilson was outside the home of his ex-partner Kayleigh Reay and she told the inquest they split up after he had been self-harming.

The jury heard there had been a previous cliff-top incident where he had to be saved by police.

Mrs Dilks said the jury may consider, among other issues, whether Mr Wilson provoked the police “with a view to officers ending his life”.

Mr Wilson lived in South Shields with his mother Tracy Todd, who told the inquest she had never known her son to have a BB gun.

She said: “James is not the type of person to have a firearm.”

Mr McLellan strongly disputed the theory that Mr Wilson wanted to go out in a “blaze for glory”, adding that he hated his father and had rarely seen him.

Mr McLellan said: “James worshipped Kayleigh, all he wanted was a family with (her).

“There was a time up the cliffs when he was not in the right frame of mind. He never wanted to take his own life, never.”

The inquest continues.