Firearms officers ‘feared for their safety’ amid tense stand-off leading up to death of St Neots man Richard Davies
PUBLISHED: 13:58 14 July 2017
A police firearms officer believed either he or one of his colleagues would be shot or killed by St Neots man Richard Davies, an inquest has heard.
The officer, who is being referred to as F7, to protect his identity, was in the first of three armed response vehicles called to Duck Lane on October 21, 2015.
The six officers dispatched to the scene were told a man had “taken his kids hostage” and was “armed with a knife”. It was later confirmed to the officers that the three children had escaped but F7 said they were unaware of their whereabouts.
F7 told the hearing at Peterborough Town Hall that, as the vehicle pulled up outside the house, he heard a bang and saw a bright flash which came from a downstairs window.
“It was very loud. I believed we had just been shot at and it looked like it was coming towards the vehicle. We both jumped out of our skins at this point.”
F7 said he then heard another loud bang and “heard a male shout ‘come on’. I remember him goading,” he said.
Coroner Nicholas Moss asked F7 about his understanding concerning the potential for a provoked shooting.
F7 said it was his recollection that “Mr Davies was trying to provoke us to shoot”.
Asked by the coroner how he felt, he replied: “I feared for my safety and that of the other officers. I thought one of us is going to get shot...one of us was going to get killed.”
The inquest heard that F7 recalled three shots being fired from the downstairs living room window and then realised Mr Davies had moved upstairs and had opened a bedroom window where there was a fourth shot.
He said Mr Davies’s fifth shot came a fraction of a second before the fatal shot, fired by the officer identified as I7.
“It was a fraction of a second, almost the same time,” he said.
He then described the officer known as N6 shouting “who shot?” and heard I7 reply “it was me”.
F7 was asked by the coroner about the possibilities of waiting for a police negotiator but told the hearing “everything happened so quickly”. He also pointed out that officers outside the house were unaware the children had been taken away from the scene.
Under cross examination from Heather Williams, representing the Davies family, he was asked why officers had not waited “significantly longer” to contain the scene as the children were not in the house.
He replied: “It would have been helpful to have known the children were not in the vicinity.”
When Miss Williams pushed the point and asked why more time was not spent negotiating with Mr Davies, he said: “How long do you want us to be shot at for?”