A retired assistant chief constable accused of misleading a public inquiry into the shooting of an unarmed man will not face misconduct proceedings.
Allegations against Steven Heywood, who retired from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in 2018, were dismissed by a panel on Tuesday. The force was accused of a “fundamental disregard” for everyone involved in the proceedings.
Anthony Grainger was shot through the chest as he sat in a car in Culcheth, Cheshire, by an armed police officer known as “Q9” in March 2012.
Detectives said they believed Grainger and two others were planning a robbery and had access to firearms.
However, no weapons were found and a public inquiry last year found GMP entirely to blame for his death due to serious flaws in its operation.
Judge Thomas Teague QC criticised senior officers for a “catastrophic series of failings and errors”.
No audio or visual recordings were made of the operation by the 16-man team.
The following week Grainger’s partner, Gail Hadfield-Grainger, said, “It was pitch black. It would have been hard to see anything. It could have been my son in the car, he’s a tall lad. The two men with Anthony were later acquitted of conspiracy to rob.
“The whole operation was a shambles.
“Police officers were sent out after a 14-hour shift beginning at 4am with machine guns, tasers, shotguns and CS gas canisters, having been told Anthony was a bad’un. Their intelligence was wrong.
“Why would you not double-check its veracity to prevent loss of life?”
Steven Heywood, the force’s former assistant chief constable, was due to face misconduct proceedings this week over evidence he gave to Teague's inquiry into Grainger’s death.
However, the charges were dropped on Tuesday after GMP said it would offer no evidence against him.
The force’s barrister, Gerry Boyle QC, told the hearing that it would be “unfair” to continue as it would not have access to redacted material. This included evidence given during closed session at the public inquiry in 2017.
Dismissing the allegations against Heywood, the chair of the panel, Nahied Asjad, criticised GMP for its handling of the proceedings.
She said, “Mr Grainger’s family, Mr Heywood and the public have been let down by the appropriate authority in this case and we note there was no contrition or apology to anyone in what was said on their behalf this morning.”
Gail Hadfield-Grainger, said she was “genuinely, genuinely devastated” by the outcome. “GMP have offered no evidence to save their embarrassment—not for the public’s interest, not for the people involved, not for anybody else but themselves and this is why they’re in this mess in the first place,” she said.
Marina Schofield, Grainger’s mother, said, “Yet again, our family and the public have been let down by GMP.”
Heywood, who retired in 2018 following criticism of his evidence, admitted that he did not initially tell the inquiry that entries in his firearms log were made retrospectively.
The log was alleged to have been made to “retrospectively justify” Heywood’s decision to authorise a firearms operation carried out in the days leading up to the killing. The log contained inaccurate information about Grainger’s previous convictions.