Public Inquiry opens into the fatal police shooting of unarmed Anthony Grainger in 2012

Tuesday 17 January 2017

A public inquiry into the fatal shooting by Greater Manchester Police in March 2012 of Anthony Grainger will begin on Tuesday 17 January 2017. This is the second time in England that an inquiry has been set up to establish how a person came to their death, replacing the role of an inquest.

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Anthony Grainger, a 36-year-old father of two, was shot by a police officer on 3 March 2012. At the time, he was sitting in the driver’s seat of his car in a car park in Culcheth. He was unarmed and no guns were found in his car.

The decision to convert the original inquest into a full public inquiry was made by the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, in March 2016 to allow more sensitive evidence to be heard.

The inquiry will consider the circumstances in which Anthony died and will make recommendations as appropriate. Key areas of focus include:

  • The objectives and planning of the operation and the quality and dissemination of the information available to those who planned it;
  • The decision to deploy armed police officers and to make arrests, and the criteria applied in reaching those decisions;
  • The command and control of the operation, its implementation, the actions of officers during the arrest phase and the circumstances in which the officer who fired the fatal shot came to discharge his weapon;
  • The extent to which Anthony’s injuries would have incapacitated him while he remained conscious and whether, after he was shot, his life could have been saved.

Anthony’s mother, Marina Schofield, said:

“Anthony was a committed family man. He was the most loving and caring person and was made to be a dad. He adored his kids. He was a good son, brother and father. His children have been left without a father who they were both very close to. I cannot imagine the pain that they will have had to go through. If Anthony was doing wrong, he should have been arrested and sent to court. He did not deserve to be shot. I miss him dearly.”

Anthony’s partner, Gail Hadfield-Grainger, said:

"Greater Manchester Police must co-operate with this Inquiry to ensure that the full truth is brought to light and so that other lives are not lost. I have been fighting to uncover the truth for five years and will not stop until I have obtained justice for Anthony."

Deborah Coles, Director of INQUEST, said:

“This case has been shrouded in secrecy and nearly five years after the death we hope that his family and friends will finally find out the truth. This inquiry must provide fearless scrutiny into the actions of the police officers which resulted in an unarmed man being shot dead.   There is a pressing need for public accountability and learning at the moment not least in the context of five fatal shootings by police officers in the last 9 months alone and the increased arming of the police. Where police officers use lethal force it needs to be proportionate and lawful. Anthony’s death is one of a number of fatal shootings by police that have raised profound concerns about possible operational and intelligence failings. Despite the lack of a jury, and the appalling delay we hope this inquiry can both establish the facts about Anthony Grainger’s death and thoroughly examine the broader issues relating to the planning and control of police firearms operations.”

INQUEST has been working with Anthony’s partner Gail Hadfield-Grainger since April 2012. She is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Tony Murphy of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, Pete Weatherby QC of Garden Court North Chambers and Fiona Murphy of Doughty Street Chambers.

INQUEST has also been working with the parents of Anthony Grainger, who are separately represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Jonathan Bridge of Farleys Solicitors, Leslie Thomas QC of Garden Court Chambers and Adam Straw of Doughty Street Chambers. Leslie Thomas QC is a leading expert in claims against the police and other public authorities and is an expert in all aspects of inquests and inquiries. He has represented many bereaved families, in particular where there has been an abuse of state or corporate power.

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