Manchester

Anthony Grainger inquiry: Shooting officer to be screened

Anthony Grainger Image copyright PA
Image caption Anthony Grainger was shot by police in 2012

A police officer who shot an unarmed man will be screened from the victim's family when he gives evidence at a public inquiry, a judge has ruled.

Anthony Grainger, 36, of Bolton, was shot in the chest during a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) operation in Culcheth, Cheshire in 2012.

A public inquiry into his death is due to start in Liverpool on 17 January.

The marksman who shot him will be screened because of a risk to his safety, Judge Thomas Teague QC said.

The inquiry chairman said the officer, referred to as Q9, will be kept anonymous and screened from the family and the public.

'Gravest necessity'

Judge Teague said Mr Grainger's brother Stuart, who is currently serving a life sentence for murder, was a "dangerous and ruthless criminal" with a "powerful motive to exact revenge for the death of his brother".

He ruled the officer should be screened from Mr Grainger's mother, stepfather and partner in case they passed information on to Stuart Grainger.

"I recognise that it is a drastic step to prevent a mother from seeing the face of the witness who has admitted that he shot and killed her son.

"Only the gravest necessity could justify such a radical restriction.

"In my judgment, it is not at all fanciful to suppose that Stuart Grainger might succeed in extracting sufficient useful information from his mother or stepfather to enable him to identify the officer who shot and killed his brother", Judge Teague said.

Leslie Thomas QC, representing Mr Grainger's mother and stepfather, had argued at a preliminary hearing the suggestion they might be pressured into giving a description of the officer to Stuart Grainger was "nonsense".

In the ruling, Judge Teague said shortly after Mr Grainger's death GMP received intelligence that his associates were offering £50,000 to anyone who would shoot and kill a police officer.

The information provided evidence of the "atmosphere of hostility towards the police" following Mr Grainger's death and the "thirst for revenge", he said.

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