Anti-terror raid shooting 'was an accident'
By BEN TAYLOR, Daily Mail

3rd August 2006

The uniform and gun used by officers in the Forest Gate raid

The shooting of Forest Gate terror suspect Mohammed Abdul Kahar during a police raid at his terraced home was ' accidental', an independent inquiry concluded yesterday.

Mr Kahar, 23, was wounded in the shoulder during the ill-fated search for a chemical bomb two months ago.

Together with his brother, Abul Koyair, 21, he has insisted he was shot by police because he was 'Asian with a full-length beard'.

But yesterday a two-month probe by the Independent Police Complaints Commission concluded that the bullet from the Heckler and Koch machine gun went off by accident and that the marksman should not face any criminal charges or disciplinary action.

It also suggested he did not know he was squeezing the trigger because he was grappling with suspects in a confined space and wearing two pairs of gloves.

Last night senior officers said that the IPCC ruling proved that police did not behave in the heavyhanded way previously suggested by the Muslim brothers.

But their family said accused the IPCC of blithely accepting the

police version of events, rushing the inquiry and not bothering to interview the police officers involved.

The wounded man's sister, Humeya Kalam, said: 'I am deeply disgusted by this report. I feel we've been let done by the IPCC as well as the police. They haven't done a thorough investigation - they seemed to have rushed it.'

In the days after the June 2 shooting, both men were released from custody after police found no evidence of the device. Later, they accused the marksman of firing deliberately at Mr Kahar, who said: 'The only crime I have done in their eyes is being Asian with a full length beard. They tried to murder me.'

Describing the moment he was shot, he said that he was fired upon as he turned around on the stairs.

He said: 'I saw this orange spark and a big bang. As I flew into the wall I slipped down. He (the officer) looked at me straight away and shot and I fell on the floor.'

But IPCC commissioner Deborah Glass said that forensic evidence of the bullet's trajectory and damage to the ceiling and walls suggested that the account of the officer, codenamed B6, was more credible.

Indeed, the official version of the raid appears to demolish much of the brothers' story - also calling into question their claims for hefty compensation over the raid.

The officer told the inquiry that - together with 14 colleagues - he had raided the house dressed in full chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological kit at around 4am.

Crucially, this protection meant that he was wearing three layers of clothing and two pairs of gloves. This, said Miss Glass, could explain why his warnings of 'armed police' were muffled by his respirator.

The gun's safety catch was off - standard practice for the first officer to enter a house considered potentially dangerous. The officer said he reached a tiny landing between two of the floors when he was aware of 'two figures approaching from his right at speed'.

The report added: 'B6 states that he and the two figures came into contact and this caused him to lose his balance and come into contact with the wall. B6 heard a "pop" but did not register that it was a shot.

'He says he became aware that one of the men was sitting on the floor. He saw a red stain on the man's shirt. It was at this stage that B6 says he realised that the "pop" was a shot.'

Forensic tests found that suggestions that one brother grabbed the gun and turned it on the other were entirely inaccurate.

Indeed, no fingerprints of any sort were found on the trigger.

Tests also show that the gun was no more than two inches from the suspect when it was fired - supporting the officer's account of a struggle in a confined space. Mr Kahar had said there was a 3ft gap between himself and the officer.

Responding to the criticism of the report by Mr Kahar's family, Miss Glass stressed that their findings were based on forensic evidence, not the accounts of the individuals involved.

Assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said that while Scotland Yard still 'regretted' the shooting, the force believed that the IPCC report 'knocks down many of the inaccurate and misleading statements that were previously made'.

Met chief Sir Ian Blair was interviewed under disciplinary caution yesterday by the IPCC over last year's shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes. He is accused of making misleading statements on the day of the shooting.