Widow of GMP officer shot dead in training exercise ‘devastated’ by decision not to bring criminal charges

By Dean Wilkins

The family of a policeman killed during a routine training excercise say they are devasted by the decesion not to prosecute anyone over his death.

PC Ian Terry, 32, died after another officer shot him in the chest during a Greater Manchester Police training exercise in 2008.

His widow Joanne Terry said she has been left ‘shocked’ and ‘disappointed’ that the Crown Prosecution Service are not charging anyone in connection with her husband’s death.

Mrs Terry, in a statement released by solicitors, said: “Our family is disappointed and devastated by the view of the CPS that a human being shot and killed unjustifiably can still be acceptable in the eyes of the law.

“Never in our worst nightmares would we expect he would be killed by one of his colleagues.

“Having a jury believe that Ian’s death was unlawful; it is confusing and frustrating that the CPS consider there is insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of a conviction at court.

“For the first few months following Ian’s death we were allowed to believe that it was the result of a tragic accident which could not have been foreseen. 

“However as the IPCC and HSE investigation progressed it became clear that major unauthorised changes had been made to the training package, that the shotgun had been intentionally pointed at Ian before the trigger was pulled and that not one of the so-called safety officers had been in a position to stop the fatal shot from being fired.”

PC Terry was wearing a protective mask and heavy jacket at the time of the incident.

This equipment would have sufficiently safeguarded him against the paint rounds, so-called simunition, which could have been fired during the exercise. 

Instead, the training exercise had been changed to include a live shotgun round fired by the officer whose role was to deflate the tyres of the suspect vehicle.

The Burnley officer was hit from a distance of one foot by a blank round of a specialist irritant personnel ammunition, which is not designed to kill but can be deadly at such close range.

An inquest held at Manchester Coroner’s Court in March 2010 found that PC Terry was ‘unlawfully killed’.

The jury ruled there was a catalogue of failures not only by the officer who shot PC Terry but also in the planning, training and safety measures.

Mrs Terry added: “We do not agree with all the decisions made regarding this case but there is nothing further we can other than seek judicial review or embark on a private prosecution.

“The real tragedy here is not only that we as a family have lost a husband, father, son and brother but that GMP have lost a young police officer who wanted to serve and to protect others and Ian has lost his life at the hands of colleagues and friends that he trusted and who let him down so badly.”

The Health and Safety Executive announced yesterday that it was to prosecute both the force and two GMP officers for breaching section 2 and section 7 of the Health and Safety Act.

In response to the news, Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: “Since Ian’s death we have made a number of changes to the way in which we train officers to ensure that all firearm training exercises are carried out in the safest possible way by reinforcing procedures and existing policies.

“Alongside today’s decision there are a further eight officers who still have outstanding misconduct matters against them. We cannot make a decision as to when these matters with be dealt with until we have seen the full disclosure files from the HSE for this case.

“Since 2008 GMP has fully co-operated with all of the agencies involved with this and as this is now a HSE prosecution it would be inappropriate for us to make any further comment at this stage.”

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