Police officer’s account of motorway shooting under scrutiny at inquest

Yassar Yaqub was fatally shot during an enforced stop on a motorway slip road.

Police officer’s account of motorway shooting under scrutiny at inquest

A police officer has denied being “mistaken” in his description of the moments before he fatally shot a man during an enforced stop on a motorway slip road.

Yassar Yaqub, 28, was the front-seat passenger in one of two cars travelling in convoy on the M62 when four unmarked police vehicles surrounded them at junction 24 in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, on January 2 2017.

An inquest at Leeds Crown Court previously heard that an officer leaned out of his car window and fired three shots at Mr Yaqub from 1.5 metres away, with two of the bullets hitting him in the chest and causing “catastrophic blood loss”.

The armed officer, known as V39 to protect his identity, told the hearing this week that, after the stop, Mr Yaqub ignored his command to “show me your hands”, and instead “crouched down” before bringing a handgun over the car’s dashboard.

V39 said that he had “feared for my life” and “had no alternative” but to shoot Mr Yaqub.

On Thursday V39 was cross examined by Michael Mansfield KC, representing Mr Yaqub’s family.

The jury was shown a photograph taken from inside the Audi Mr Yaqub was in, with bullet holes in the front windscreen.

Mr Mansfield said: “It’s quite clear if someone is bent down, crouches and leans towards his right if that’s what he did, he is going below the ‘mound’ on the dashboard.

“There’s quite a bit of cover there isn’t there?

“If he was in that position he wouldn’t have received the wounds he did, would he?

“Are you mistaken at all about your position and his?”

V39 replied: “No, sir.”

M62 police shooting
Police forensics officers examine a silver Audi with bullet holes (Peter Byrne/PA)

Mr Mansfield said: “You can see where the penetrative holes are imaged on this particular person’s clothing and the trajectory of his arms raised.”

V39 said he “cannot recall it like that”.

Mr Mansfield asked: “He wasn’t crouched down when you fired your weapon, was he?”

V39 replied: “I think he was, sir.”

He also denied that he had “made a mistake”.

Mr Mansfield said: “Was he in an upright position in his seat when he received his injuries?”

V39 said: “No, sir.”

The inquest has previously heard Mr Yaqub was described by police intelligence as a “highly active criminal” and Operation Fillview was set up in October 2016 in response to intelligence showing he and another man had been “making threats” to a man called Yasser Adalat.

V39 was the passenger in one of the four police vehicles that followed Mr Yaqub and his associates from Akbar’s Cafe in Bradford on the M62 towards Huddersfield before stopping them at the junction known as Ainley Top.

The inquest continues.

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