Man shot dead by police in Birmingham was lawfully killed, inquest jury finds

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A man who was shot dead by police at his flat was lawfully killed when an armed officer fired in self-defence, an inquest jury has ruled.

A two-week inquest into the death of Trevor Smith heard that the 52-year-old was hit in the chest by a single shot in 2019.

Birmingham Coroner’s Court was told armed officers attended his flat in a pre-planned operation at Wheeleys Lane, Lee Bank, Birmingham, shortly before 5am on March 15.

A post-mortem found that Mr Smith died from a single gunshot wound.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation into the shooting in March 2019 following a mandatory referral from West Midlands Police.

Officers’ body-worn video footage examined by the watchdog showed that armed police attempted to verbally engage with Mr Smith prior to the shooting.

A black handgun, later found to be an imitation firearm, was recovered from the scene.

Man shot dead by police in Birmingham
A firearms officer outside the flats after the fatal shooting (Ben Birchall/PA)

Commenting after the inquest verdict, IOPC operations manager Steve Bimson said: “Our condolences remain with Mr Smith’s family and friends for their sad loss from this tragic incident.

“Fatal police shootings are rare occurrences but when they do happen, it is vital there is an independent and robust investigation into the circumstances.

“At the end of our investigation we shared our report and evidence gathered with the coroner to inform the inquest proceedings and with Mr Smith’s family and West Midlands Police.”

The IOPC’s investigation concluded that the actions of the armed officer who opened fire had been “proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances faced”.

Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Meir, of West Midlands Police, also issued a statement following the verdict.

ACC Meir said: “When we received intelligence that Mr Smith was in possession of a firearm, we had a duty to act to protect the public, and so carefully planned and carried out the warrant to arrest him.

“The last thing our firearms officers ever want to do is discharge their weapons, and they will do everything possible to avoid that scenario.

“Sadly, on this occasion, one of our officers had no choice but to discharge their weapon. The verdict of lawful killing returned by the jury reflects that.

“We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family of Mr Smith.”

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