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Public inquiry findings due on police shooting of unarmed man in prison break

Jermaine Baker, who was shot by a police marksman known only as W80 during a foiled prison break in 2015 (Family handout/PA)
Jermaine Baker, who was shot by a police marksman known only as W80 during a foiled prison break in 2015 (Family handout/PA)

The long-awaited findings of a public inquiry into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed man during a foiled prison break are due to be published on Tuesday.

Father-of-two Jermaine Baker, 28, died when he was shot by a Met marksman known only as W80 near Wood Green Crown Court on December 11 2015.

He was one of three men waiting in a stolen Audi A6 to try to break inmate Izzet Eren, a member of notoriously violent gang the Tottenham Boys, out of a prison van.

Mr Baker’s mother, Margaret Smith, told the public inquiry into his death that the value of her son’s life had been forgotten by police officers involved in the operation.

An exterior view of Wood Green Crown Court
Izzet Eren was due to appear at Wood Green Crown Court on the day of the attempted prison break (Aaron Chown/PA)

During evidence hearings last summer, she said her son had been written off by teachers at school and later struggled to find work after serving a prison sentence.

She said: “This could happen to anyone. Jermaine’s life was exceptional and unusual in the way that it ended, but the story of being written off as a child could be told by so many black boys and young men.”

The inquiry heard that Mr Baker may have been asleep at the time he was shot, and may have misunderstood contradictory instructions shouted by armed officers who challenged the men in the Audi.

A police bug in the car captured a wall of noise with some officers telling the group to raise their hands, while W80 said he had instructed Mr Baker to put his hands on the dashboard.

No live firearm was found in the car in which Mr Baker was a front seat passenger, but a replica Uzi was discovered in the back of the car.

Officers had intelligence that the group had been unable to obtain a real gun, but this information was not passed on to the firearms team who confronted the men.

W80 told the inquiry he was convinced that they would be armed and would fight their way out rather than surrender when challenged by armed police.

The terms of reference for the inquiry, chaired by judge Clement Goldstone QC, covered the planning of the armed operation, what information was available to those involved, how the operation was led and what the officers did on the ground, an what happened in the aftermath of the shooting.

The CPS decided not to bring criminal charges against W80 in 2017, and the officer is involved in a legal battle over whether he should face misconduct proceedings.