Hull man shot by police was unlawfully killed, inquest jury rules

A man shot dead by police while carrying an axe on a city centre street was unlawfully killed, an inquest jury has ruled.

Lewis Skelton, 31, died after he was shot twice by a police officer in Hull after Tasers had no effect on him, a jury at Hull coroner’s court heard.

The inquest heard how Skelton was shot after failing to respond to officers’ instructions to stop on 29 November 2016.

Humberside police deployed armed police after it received three 999 calls saying a man was carrying an axe.

Skelton, who was known to have mental health issues, was confronted by officers.

The officer who fired the fatal shots – only identified as B50 – said Skelton failed to stop when challenged. A Taser was used four times by that officer and by his colleague, identified only as Charlie, but it had no effect. Skelton was then shot twice in the back with a Glock pistol. He was pronounced dead at hospital.

The officer said he fired his gun because he believed Skelton, who had started jogging, was a threat to the lives of a group of people who were walking towards him in the street.

Skelton’s sister, Tia, said the verdict had only confirmed the family’s view that the “killing of Lewis was wrong”.

She said: “It has been incredibly difficult for us to hear and see all the evidence. There was nothing to suggest that Lewis was aggressive or dangerous on that day,” she said.

“His final moments must have been ones of terror and fear and this is so hard as a family to know.”

She also criticised media reports at the time of the shooting, which reported Skelton was a “crazed axeman” or “axe-wielding”, which she claimed was not what witnesses recounted.

However, Humberside police said it was “disappointed” with the jury’s conclusion and described the incident as a “split-second decision to protect the public”.

Chris Noble, the assistant chief constable of Humberside, told BBC News: “We are disappointed with this conclusion and are concerned that it does not undermine the confidence of officers to act decisively when making split-second decisions to protect the public.”

He added that the Independent Office for Police Conduct had found the officer’s actions to be “proportionate to the risk that was identified to members of the public”.

Comments are closed.