Man shot dead by police in hostage stand-off ‘did not know armed officers were outside’
- Credit: PA
A man shot dead by police after taking his ex-girlfriend hostage at knife-point and screaming “one of us will die tonight” may not have known he was surrounded by armed officers and at risk of being shot, an inquest has heard.
Dean Joseph was involved in a tense stand-off at the flat of his former partner Julie Moyses, in Shepperton Road, Islington, before armed officers surrounded the Georgian terrace and he was fatally wounded in the early hours of September 5 last year.
But legal teams representing his family said the 40-year-old man was not warned he might be shot or even told armed officers were outside his ex-girlfriend’s home as he became increasingly agitated and aggressive inside.
The jury at St Pancras Coroner’s Court also heard firearms officers’ memories of the fatal shooting may have been “contaminated by conferring” because a flip chart detailing key events was put up as an “aide-memoir”.
Mr Joseph had smashed his way in through the bedroom window of his ex-girlfriend’s flat on the evening of September 4 and was already subject to a Non-Molestation Order, the jury heard. His former partner, a cleaner at a local primary school, said he had a history of violence, describing the relationship as “complicated” but said at other times he had “a nice side, a good side”.
For the next hour-and-a-half Ms Moyses was subjected to a terrifying ordeal as he held a knife to her neck and threatened to “slit her throat”, the jury was told.
A statement from Ms Moyses, who was too ill to attend court, said: “The policeman was saying ‘Let her go’. But Dean just pressed the knife deeper and deeper into my throat.
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“Dean just kept on being abusive towards me and was shouting: ‘There’s nothing to live for, one of us is going to die tonight’.”
The court heard Islington Police arrived first on scene – after being alerted by a neighbour – and a local officer negotiated with Mr Joseph.
Firearms officers fired stun grenades into the property and the fatal gun shot was fired at 12.55am by firearms officer Pc Stuart Brown, the jury heard.
Paramedics fought to save Mr Joseph’s life but he died in an ambulance at Old Street roundabout shortly afterwards. Ms Moyses was unhurt.
Barristers for Mr Joseph’s family said police had not made sure he understood the risks he faced.
Leslie Thomas QC, representing the maternal side of the Joseph family, asked PS Philip Lutz, tactical firearms officer during the armed response: “Was Mr Joseph ever told at any stage, there are armed police officers here, you are at risk of being shot if you don’t desist from what you’re doing?”
PS Lutz said he could not answer the question but confirmed he was “not aware” of this information being transmitted by police radio, which he was logging as the incident unfolded.
The jury also heard an “aide-memoir” flip chart showing key events in PS Lutz’s log was in the room where officers wrote their statements about the night.
Mr Thomas asked: “That must be your own interpretation of conferring because you’ve influenced them with things that aren’t part of their recollection. It contaminates their evidence.”
PS Lutz replied: “I can only speak for myself and I can say I wouldn’t let anything like that influence me.
“This is a highly serious incident that we attended. It’s the most serious that I’ve attended in 14 or 15 years service and it was hugely important that we got it right.”
The inquest into Mr Joseph’s death opened on Monday and is scheduled to run for four weeks.
A statement from his sister, Susan Joseph, read to the court, said: “Looking back at Dean’s life I think that things went wrong for him when his mum died and he went into care.
“It feels like the odds were stacked against him from that young age and through no fault of his own. As a family we love and miss Dean dearly.”