Special Branch 'altered record' in attempt to switch the blame for
de Menezes shooting
Extraordinary allegations that Special Branch officers deliberately
falsified vital evidence to hide mistakes which led to the killing of Jean Charles
de Menezes at a south London Underground station were made last night.
According to claims in the News of the World, police altered the contents
of a logbook, which detailed the Brazilian electrician's final movements, in
a bid to cover up their blunders.
The 27-year-old was shot dead at Stockwell Tube station, in the wake of the
London bombings, by police exercising a shoot-to-kill policy.
Specific words were understood to have been changed to cover up the fact that
surveillance officers had wrongly identified Mr de Menezes as terror suspect
Alterations were hastily made to amend the wording of the official log once
the shocking truth emerged that the dead man was not, in fact, the extremist
wanted in connection with the failed 21 July Tube bombings.
This was in a bid to pass the blame for the shooting on to the firearms officers
who actually shot the electrician and on to senior officers at Scotland Yard
who were in charge of the operation.
These revelations are reportedly contained in the report of the Independent
Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Last night, despite calls to the Metropolitan
Police, the Home Office and the IPCC, The Independent on Sunday was unable to
corroborate or substantiate the claims.
The family of the dead man said the revelations were "shocking" and
demanded an immediate public inquiry. Asad Rehman, the family's spokesman, said
these latest reports reinforced their belief that there had been a deliberate
cover-up over Mr de Menezes death.
"It reinforces their belief that his killing was not the result of a catalogue
of errors but that there was something more malign behind this," said Mr
Rehman, who has written to the Attorney General and the Crown Prosecution Service
demanding an official inquiry into Mr de Menezes' death. "Yet again, the
family has to find out through leaks what might have happened to Jean Charles.
We believe a public inquiry is the only solution for the real truth to be established."
The story, if proved correct, will add to the controversy surrounding the shooting.
Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is already facing
a separate inquiry into complaints made by Mr de Menezes' family that he made
misleading comments about the shooting to the public.
The Stockwell killing has also highlighted communications failures between
surveillance teams and commanding officers as well as calling into question
Operation Kratos, the Met's secret policy on dealing with potential suicide
The IPCC review of the Stockwell killing was handed to lawyers at the CPS just
over a week ago. Copies have also been delivered to Charles Clarke, the Home
Secretary, as well as to the Metropolitan Police Authority and to Scotland Yard.
It is expected that they could take up to a year to decide if there are sufficient
grounds on which to bring a prosecution against any of the officers.
However, sources quoted by the News of the World allege that the IPCC report
reveals that the log was altered from "it was Osman" to read instead
"and it was not Osman".
The alteration should have been signed but was not. This was regarded as a
clumsy error by the IPCC investigators. Their report says: "This looks
like an attempt to try to distance Special Branch from the decision [to shoot