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Anthony Grainger killing: ‘words will never be enough to save lives’

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Issue 2706
Anthony Grainger
Anthony Grainger

The government claims that lessons have been learned almost a year after an inquiry said police were to blame for the killing of Anthony Grainger. But the police responsbile are still not facing trial.

A government response said “good progress” was being made on the recommendations of a public inquiry into Anthony’s death that ended in July last year.

The inquiry found that incompetent and misleading senior police were entirely to blame for the killing of Anthony by armed cops in 2012.

Anthony was behind the wheel of a car in Cheshire when a Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officer, referred to in court as Q9, fired a submachine gun and killed him.

Q9 told the court from behind a screen in 2017 that he believed Anthony had reached down as if to grab a firearm.

But no firearms were found on Anthony or in the vehicle in March 2012. The inquiry found Anthony was probably reaching for the door handle to get out of the car.

Inquiry chair Judge Thomas Teague QC said commanders had given inaccurate briefings which led to the distortion and exaggeration of the risk posed by Anthony.


Anthony and one of his two passengers, David Totton, had for some weeks been the subject of a police operation, Operation Shire. This was investigating their claimed involvement in robberies.

Teague said police were using an “existing profile” for Anthony which had been prepared for “unrelated investigations”.

It included “serious inaccuracies, presenting a distorted and in some respects exaggerated picture of the threat Mr Grainger presented”.

In fact there was “no intelligence” to suggest Anthony was “armed or had immediate access to firearms”.

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Commanding officers “lacked the requisite level of professional competence”, and planning was “inadequate and ineffective”.

The report found that officers had misled the Inquiry when giving evidence. It also found that GMP had previously misled the Crown Court when it was prosecuted for Health and Safety offences which were stayed.

In its response today, the government said, “In the seven years since the operation in which Anthony Grainger was fatally shot, significant work has taken place to implement changes from lessons learned.”

Changes include making body-worn video cameras a requirement for all armed response vehicle officers and specialist firearms officers when deployed overtly.

The officers and their commanders involved in Anthony’s killing have never been prosecuted.

Anthony’s partner Gail Hadfield-Grainger said, “It has been almost a year since the inquiry’s report, and over eight years since Anthony’s death, so I am relieved to finally receive a response from the Government.

“The response is important but words will never be enough to save lives.”




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