Azelle Rodney was shot six times in 2005 (Met Police)
Azelle Rodney was shot six times in 2005 (Met Police)

A policeman who shot dead a 24-year-old suspected armed robber in 2005 had no lawful justification to do so, an inquiry has ruled.

Azelle Rodney was shot six times by an officer identified only as E7 in Edgware, north London in April 2005.

The report, by a retired high court judge, Sir Christopher Holland, dismissed claims from the officer that he believed Rodney had a gun and was prepared to use it against him.

The damning report ruled that the officer "could not rationally have believed" Rodney had a firearm. Furthermore, the report added that even if E7 did believe Rodney had a gun, the officer "would have no basis for firing the fatal fifth to eighth shots".

Rodney was shot six times, once each in the arm and back and four times in the head. Rodney's mother, Susan Alexander, has demanded an apology from the police for what she described as an "execution".

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said he "deeply regrets" the 24-year-old's death following the release of the report. Howe added the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) had referred the case against E7 to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The officer could now face criminal prosecution over the incident.

Rodney was killed after the VW Gold car he was in with two other people was pulled over by police after being under surveillance for several hours.

E7 told the inquiry he opened fire after fearing the gang had a sub-machine gun in the car. He then shot Rodney six times, including four bullets to the head.

Holland said the officer's accounts of what happened are "not to be accepted".

He added: "Prior to firing he did not believe that the man who turned out to be Azelle Rodney had picked up a gun and was about to use it.

"Further, on the basis of what he was able to see, he could not rationally have believed that."

The two other injured men during the shooting were later tried and jailed.

Deborah Glass, IPCC Deputy Chair said: "We welcome the fact that Azelle Rodney's family have finally seen and heard the evidence in this case as a result of this public inquiry. We understand their anger and frustration about how long this has all taken.

"Having carefully considered the contents of the Azelle Rodney Inquiry Report, the IPCC has today re-referred the matter to the CPS to reconsider their decision as to whether any criminal prosecution should now follow. We have also committed to providing the CPS with any evidence gathered previously and to obtain further evidence if required.

"Mr Rodney's family has expressed concern about non-disclosure to them of aerial footage. While this could not be disclosed at the time for legal reasons which were confirmed by the High Court as a "conscientious judgement" we argued at the Inquiry that the footage should be made available to the family, which has now happened.

"We regret that it was not possible for this to happen sooner and understand how upsetting and frustrating this was for them."