Dean Joseph inquest: Met Police 'regrets' killing of Islington man in hostage siege
PUBLISHED: 12:56 13 August 2015 | UPDATED: 14:10 13 August 2015
A Metropolitan Police commander has said the force "regrets" the killing of a man who was shot dead after taking his ex-girlfriend hostage and extended sympathy to his family.
Unemployed gardener Dean Joseph was shot twice by firearms officer PC Stuart Brown following a tense 90 minute stand-off at a Georgian terrace in Islington in the early hours of September 5 last year.
Yesterday an inquest jury at St Pancras Coroner’s Court ruled that Mr Joseph, who lived at a hostel in Northumberland Park, Tottenham, before his death, had been killed lawfully but criticised police handling of the operation.
Speaking in reaction to the lawful killing verdict, Commander David Musker, armed policing, today said: “It was vital that the facts of what happened were established through the inquest, however I recognise that this will have been a distressing time for all those affected by the events that this inquest has examined.
“I would like to express my sympathy to Mr Joseph’s family, and state the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) regrets his death.
“No police officer sets out at the start of an operation to take someone’s life.
“The MPS asks, and indeed expects, our armed officers to make split second decisions based on the information available to them.
“They do so to protect the public, their colleagues and themselves. It is a role they volunteer for.
“On this occasion our firearms officer acted to protect a woman being held hostage.
“He feared her life was at risk as she was being held at knife-point by Mr Joseph who was making serious threats against her, himself, and the police.
“Every day in London armed officers are called to tackle violent criminals or those who pose such a risk that unarmed officers are unable to deal with them.
“Last year firearms officers responded to over 4,000 firearms calls - an average of 11 a day - and carried out over 800 planned operations.
“Across London four or five times every day officers draw their weapons, yet shots are only fired once or twice a year.
“That is a testimony to their professionalism, skill and training.
“We await the coroner’s report, however we seek to learn from every operation and constantly try to improve how we deliver armed policing, for the good of the public and our officers.”
Mr Joseph had taken his ex-girlfriend hostage at knife-point at her flat in Shepperton Road and the police marksman fired twice when the 40-year-old suddenly moved the blade to his ex-partner’s throat.
Following a three week inquest hearing the jury returned a narrative verdict which said no armed warning was given to Mr Joseph before shots were fired to tell him armed police were present and a gun was being pointed at him, which “possibly had an effect on the outcome of the incident”.
The verdict also said a trained police negotiator did not speak to him despite being at the scene and there being sufficient time to do so, which also “possibly affected the outcome of the incident”.
The verdict said police “communication and consideration” about whether the firearms operation was overt, meaning Mr Joseph should have been told of the presence of armed officers, or covert, meaning this would not be revealed, was “inadequate”.