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Inquest hears of final moments of man fatally shot by police on M62 slip road

An inquest at Leeds Crown Court heard four police cars had been “tracking” Yassar Yaqub (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)
An inquest at Leeds Crown Court heard four police cars had been “tracking” Yassar Yaqub (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

A jury will have to determine what happened before an armed officer fatally shot a man during a police stop on a motorway slip road, an inquest has heard.

Yassar Yaqub, 28, was the front seat passenger in one of two cars travelling in convoy on the M62 when four unmarked police vehicles surrounded them at junction 24 in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

An inquest at Leeds Crown Court heard the four police cars had been “tracking” Mr Yaqub and his “friends or associates” before they travelled from Bradford to Huddersfield on January 2 2017.

Giving his summary to the jury, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl KC, said Mr Yaqub was the passenger in an Audi A4 being driven by Mohsin Amin. Behind them was a VW Scirocco containing Rexhino Arapaj and David Butlin.

The judge said the four police vehicles – known as Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta – had armed police officers inside.

Jurors heard that as the Audi and VW left the M62 at junction 24, known as Ainley Top, the four police cars “boxed them in” and came to a stop.

The judge said: “The police officer in the front passenger seat of the Alpha car, who will be known by the code name B39, lowered the front offside window, and leant out of it as he was holding his police-issued firearm.

“He pointed it directly towards the occupants of the Audi. What was then said and exactly what actions were taken by the occupants of the Audi and Alpha cars, are matters which are at the heart of this inquest, matters which, therefore, you will need to determine.

“What is clear is that officer B39 fired his gun three times at Yassar Yaqub, who was seated in the front passenger seat of the Audi.”

The inquest heard officer B39 was around 1.5 metres away from Mr Yaqub when he shot him. Jurors were told two of the bullets hit Mr Yaqub in the chest and caused “catastrophic blood loss”.

“Although police attempted to provide medical assistance within moments of the shot having been fired, and first medical responders arrived within 17 minutes, there was no chance that his life could have been saved by any form of medical intervention and his death was recorded at 6.44pm,” Judge Kearl said.

M62 police shooting
The coffin of Yassar Yaqub is carried towards Masjid Bilal in Huddersfield (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Jurors were told that a loaded pistol was found in the footwell under the Audi front passenger seat, where Mr Yaqub had been when he was shot. A silencer and further ammunition were found in the glovebox, the judge said.

He told the jury: “It will not surprise you to learn that the event of stopping the Audi and Volkswagen did not just happen out of the blue.

“You will hear the police had been interested for some time in Mr Yaqub before January 2 2017.

“You will hear they had been receiving police intelligence about his activities. They had built up a picture of him.

“It was as a result of that intelligence that steps were taken to amass a surveillance and intersection team in order to stop the car in which he was travelling.

“You will learn of the intelligence held by those who made the decision and the decision-making process which led to the stopping of the Audi and Volkswagen.”

The inquest heard a pen portrait of Mr Yaqub from his partner Zoe Summers, the mother of his two children, who were six months old and 11 years when he died.

She said: “I always felt lucky to have Yassar in my life, especially as we got older.

“He had such a kind, loving nature and only wanted the best for people around him.”

A tribute from the couple’s daughter Jasmine said: “I miss my dad more than anything. His presence made me so happy, I wanted to be around him forever but now all I have are memories and pictures, which I will hold on to forever.

“My dad would always encourage me to focus on my dreams but since he passed away it’s very hard to, especially in school.”

Mr Yaqub’s father Mohammed Yaqub told the hearing his son was “well respected in the community and never out of employment”.

He fought back tears as he said: “He was a natural father, he loved (his children) with his whole heart and taught them to be kind to others.”

The inquest continues.