Police shooting inquest jury watch footage showing moment of fatal shot

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An inquest jury hearing evidence about the death of a 52-year-old man shot in his flat by armed police has seen dramatic footage showing the moment an officer opened fire.

Trevor Smith was shot once in his apartment, in a block of flats near Birmingham city centre, during an attempt to detain him in the early hours of March 15 2019.

The shot ricocheted off Mr Smith’s bedframe before striking him, a Birmingham Coroner’s Court inquest heard on Tuesday.

An imitation firearm was recovered at the scene.

In the footage recorded by armed officers’ body-worn video cameras, police repeatedly urged Mr Smith to come out of the flat and show his hands, saying “stop being a plonker, come to the door”.

At one point Mr Smith tells an officer: “I don’t give a f**k, mate”.

Moments later, police tell him “Trevor, you’re being absolutely stupid now, there’s no need for this.”

He is again asked by officers “show us your hands”, as he can be seen standing behind his bed, with his duvet covering one arm.

One officer tells him: “I’d rather not set a dog on you, or Taser you, I’d rather you just came compliantly to the door.

“We are going to cuff you, we aren’t going to make you look stupid, we’ll make sure you’ve got a blanket to cover you up and then work from there.

“Trevor, Trevor, come on mate.”

He is then asked if he is going to “come to the door”, but seconds later, after a police dog has been brought up ready to go into the flat, a gunshot rings out and officers shout “shots fired, shots fired”.

Officers are then later seen carrying out CPR on Mr Smith in the block’s communal corridor.

Man shot dead by police in Birmingham
Police forensics officers at the scene (Ben Birchall/PA)

At the start of the inquest, jurors were told the attempt to arrest Mr Smith by firearms officers was prompted after claims he had been threatening his ex-partner.

The former girlfriend told police that a “gun was put to her head” by the father-of-two before they split up in January 2019, and that he sent “intimate” videos of her to friends after their break-up.

At the start of the hearing, senior coroner Louise Hunt gave the 10-member jury a summary of the evidence they would be hearing over the next three to four weeks.

She said: “Mr Smith had recently broken up with his partner.

“She made a report to the police that he had been threatening her.

“Part of those threats, you will hear in evidence, involved an incident where she states in November 2018 that a gun was put to her head.

“More recently, on January 9 2019, she stated he sent her a WhatsApp message which showed a gun on a white sofa, with a message that was threatening in nature.

“As a result of the complaint made (by his ex-partner), West Midlands Police decided to arrest Mr Smith in the early hours of March 15 2019 at his home address, which you will hear is a block of flats in Wheeleys Lane.

“The arrest was to be led by firearms officers due to the suspicion Mr Smith may be in possession of a firearm.”

Ms Hunt told the jury: “What you will see is that at some point he (Mr Smith) is at the end of the bed and he has a duvet held in front of him, and one of his arms is not visible.

“The sequence of events then is a dog arrives on the corridor, (and) starts barking.

“Soon after, Mr Smith drops the duvet and one of his limbs moves.

“Very shortly after, one of the firearms officers discharges his weapon. A single shot is fired.

“It hits the bedframe and ricochets into Mr Smith, causing fatal injuries.”

Man shot dead by police in Birmingham
A firearms officer walks to his vehicle in Lee Bank, Birmingham (Ben Birchall/PA)

Ms Hunt said “a black imitation firearm was recovered from the scene”, and in the body-worn footage what appears to be a handgun is shown on Mr Smith’s bed, although the jury have yet to hear evidence as to where it was at the moment police opened fire.

Jurors heard that Mr Smith’s ex-partner got a WhatsApp video straight after ending their relationship in January 2019, showing a “black handgun”, in which he was allegedly heard to say “watch what I do”.

She then made a further police complaint in early March 2019, after receiving two “sympathy” greetings cards, one of which had her photograph on and read: “RIP, you’re always in our thoughts – not”.

A family tribute was read at the start of the inquest by Mr Smith’s sister, Lorna Webley, describing him as a “very bright, talented and creative individual” famed for his “sharp” dress sense, and as a man “forever altering his own clothes”.

Ms Webley said the death was “beyond comprehension”, adding “Trevor’s life mattered and he did not deserve to lose it in this way.

“One early Friday morning, someone took my brother’s life in three seconds.

“At this moment, we cannot explain the proper reason for any good cause for his death.”

She said the avid Birmingham City fan was deeply missed.

The inquest into the death of Mr Smith, a van driver and one of five siblings, continues.

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