Menezes jurors return open verdict

Jean Charles de Menezes was not killed lawfully, jurors at an inquest into his death have said.

The jury, which was not permitted to return a verdict of unlawful killing, returned an open verdict.

Announcing the verdict to the inquest at the Oval cricket ground, the foreman said the ten jurors had rejected police claims that a warning had been shouted to Mr de Menezes.

The 27-year-old was shot seven times in the head while on the London Underground three years ago by counterterrorism officers who had mistaken him for a suicide bomber.

Coroner Sir Michael Wright had already ruled out a verdict of unlawful killing, which sparked protests from Mr de Menezes’ family and counsel in the courtroom.

For the first time today the extent of the protests can be reported after restrictions were lifted.

The chaotic scenes saw family members of Mr de Menezes physically stopped from entering the courtroom by security personnel shortly before jurors were sent out.

Sir Michael’s direction left jurors with either returning an open verdict or one of lawful killing, the latter of which would have entirely justified police action.

Among the 100-plus witnesses who gave evidence at the inquest, which began in September, were the two specialist firearms officers – C12 and C2 – who shot Mr de Menezes on July 22nd 2005, two weeks after suicide bombings killed 52 people in the capital’s transport system.

A day before Mr de Menezes’ killing, four would-be suicide bombers failed in a second bid to kill commuters.

The Metropolitan police told it was considering the verdict and would be responding in due course.