Tuesday 6 October 2009

Hounslow Mum Takes Campaign For Inquest To Commons

From the Hounslow and Brentford Times

The mother of a man killed by police is hoping she might finally reach the end of her campaign to have an inquest, four years after he was shot dead.

Susan Alexander, 49, from Hounslow, was told an inquest into her son’s death was impossible because police refused to release details of the intelligence they were acting on when they shot Azelle Rodney.

Mrs Alexander is due to speak in the House of Commons on October 13 to ask Parliament to insert a clause into the Coroners Bill which would allow an inquest to go ahead.

Azelle Rodney, 24, was shot in the face, head, neck and chest by a police officer wielding a Heckler and Koch high-velocity assault rifle on April 30, 2005.

He was sitting in the back of a silver Volkswagen Golf in a residential road in Edgware and was unarmed.

The two men in the front of the car - Wesley Lovell, 26, and Frank Graham, 24 - escaped without injury and were later jailed for possessing firearms. The car had been under police surveillance for some time.

Mrs Alexander, who has two other sons, said: “Something went wrong. The covering up started right at the beginning, before I even knew what had happened.

“I just want answers from the police officers who shot my son, especially the main one, why did he shoot him at point blank range?”

Just after the shooting, Azelle was branded a drugs baron in the media, however he had no criminal record and no evidence has been produced to show he was involved in drugs.

Weeks before his death, he told his mother he was expecting his first child, his daughter was born the day before his funeral.

A few months after Azelle was killed, the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes made headlines around the world.

Mrs Alexander said: “As soon as I heard about what happened I went to the Menezes family and spoke to them, they were getting a lot of attention, all the focus was on them.

“It was inches away from my case in similarity.”

Last year the Menezes family sat through an inquest during which they learned how police came to believe the Brazilian was a suicide bomber. Azelle Rodney’s family have not had the same privilege.

Mrs Alexander hopes that if Parliament votes in favour of amending the Coroners Bill this month her struggle for answers, which has divided her family, might come to an end.

She said no mother should have to suffer what she has gone through.

“We need to feel that it is a safe and fair law for everybody. At the moment it is not safe and fair and there is no justice involved.”

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