James Fox father 'disappointed' with lawful killing ruling

image copyrightPA
image captionJames Fox had a history of contact with mental health services

A mentally ill man who was shot dead by Met Police officers at his home was lawfully killed, an inquest has concluded.

James Fox, 43, was hit five times as he opened the door to his flat in Picardy House, Enfield in August 2015.

The shooting happened hours after Mr Fox had threatened to kill his father and pointed a gun at a child's head.

Jurors at North London Coroner's Court found officers believed they needed to use force to defend themselves.

But Mr Fox's father said he was not happy with the verdict, describing his son's death as needless.

'Waking nightmare'

He said: "I am disappointed. I am not happy with it... I never in my life felt threatened by him or in any way at risk.

"Had I known [about the planned armed response] I would have been straight over to speak with James and I believe without question he would be alive today.

"Being told that he had been shot dead was like waking up in a nightmare. I still cannot believe it.

The inquest heard Mr Fox's stepmother told police he had left their home with a gun.

Following the call to police, officers began a search for an "emotionally or mentally distressed" Mr Fox and armed officers were deployed.

The court heard that the two officers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, shot Mr Fox as he raised a weapon towards them. He died at the scene.

It also heard that there would have been "no time for Mr Fox to react," between the moment officers announced their presence and before they opened fire.

Mr Fox had previously been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and was known to own an airgun, which he used to "shoot pigeons".

An air pistol was found when his flat was searched.

image copyrightIPCC
image captionA police body camera captured the moment Mr Fox pointed a thin black object (in blue square), which police believed was a gun, at two armed officers
image copyrightIPCC
image captionOfficers told the Independent Police Complaints Commission they feared for their lives so opened fire
image copyrightIPCC
image captionThe IPCC found the officers were "justified in their decision to fire their weapons"

The police officers who shot Mr Fox were also cleared by an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation, a report released after jurors reached their decision showed.

It found "both officers were entitled to believe there was an immediate threat to life and were justified in their decision to fire their weapons".

The report concluded that Mr Fox's decision "to come to the door of his address with the weapon in his hand was the primary reason he was shot".

IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts said: "This was a tragic case for all concerned but our investigation has found that neither the officers' actions nor the tactics of the Metropolitan Police were at fault.

"This case is also notable for the positive use of body worn video which resulted in the incident being captured from two perspectives, capturing the officers' efforts to save Mr Fox's life and providing an impartial account that corroborated the officers' accounts of what happened that night."

Harpreet Aujla, the family's solicitor, outlined her hope that the case would help in future police training.

She said: "The family's case has been that the police could have handled this incident better and possibly prevented James' death.

"It is hoped that issues surrounding protective equipment and police firearms training can be addressed."

image copyrightPA
image captionJames Fox was shot at his home in Enfield

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