Streatham terror inquest ‘should examine attacker’s background’, coroner told

Ryan Hooper, PA
·2-min read

The inquest into the fatal shooting of Streatham terror attacker Sudesh Amman should examine some aspects of his background without being a “generalised inquiry” into his life, a court has heard.

Jurors will this summer be asked to look at the circumstances into how the 20-year-old was shot by two police marksmen after he stole a 20cm knife from a shop in Streatham High Road in south London on Sunday February 2 2020 and stabbed two bystanders while wearing a fake suicide vest.

Covert armed Metropolitan Police officers had him under 24-hour surveillance at the time, after he had been released on licence from prison on January 23, halfway through a jail sentence for terrorist offences.

Streatham terror attack
Sudesh Amman, 20, was shot dead by armed police in Streatham High Road, south London, in February 2020 (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Counsel to the inquest Jonathan Hough QC told a brief pre-inquest review hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday that the scope should include some examination of Amman’s background, but added: “This is an inquest into Mr Amman’s death – not a generalised inquiry into his life.”

He suggested five areas to be contained within the scope of the inquest, including his life and offending history, state monitoring, and surveillance conducted on the day Amman died.

The coroner, High Court judge Mr Justice Hilliard, said there was potential for the scope of the inquest to expand, and adjourned the matter until another pre-inquest review in July.

The inquest proper is due to be held before a jury at the Royal Courts of Justice from August 2, lasting for up to three weeks.

Streatham terror attack
The scene of the terror attack in Streatham High Road last February (Aaron Chown/PA)

Wednesday’s hearing also heard concerns over an apparent refusal by the Legal Aid Agency to grant funding for Amman’s family to be represented by Queen’s Counsel at the inquest.

The coroner, urging a change in consideration, said having someone of QC experience and ability to represent the family “would be of considerable assistance to the inquest”.

The inquest was formally opened on February 26 last year when the hearing was told Amman was identified by his mother.

A post-mortem examination recorded the cause of death as shock and haemorrhage and gunshot wounds to the neck and abdomen.

Amman was first arrested on suspicion of planning a terror attack in 2018. He pleaded guilty to six counts of possessing documents containing terrorist information and seven counts of disseminating terrorist publications in November that year.

In December 2018 he was sentenced to three years and four months detention, of which he served half before being automatically released from Belmarsh prison, under licence conditions and surveillance by the Met.