LONDON (AFP) – Undercover London police officers faked vital evidence to cover up their fatal role in the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, mistaken for a suicide bomber, a newspaper has alleged.
Special Branch officers from London’s Metropolitan Police tried to change a surveillance log detailing the electrician’s movements to hide the fact that they had wrongly identified him, the News of the World weekly claimed.
De Menezes, 27, was shot seven times in the head on a London Underground train at Stockwell station in south London.
He was killed on July 22 last year, the day after an alleged attempt to replicate the July 7 attacks by four suspected suicide bombers which killed 52 innocent Underground and bus commuters.
The alleged cover-up meant the blame for the tragedy would have been pinned on senior Met Police commanders or the armed police who fired the bullets — leaving them open to murder charges, the newspaper said.
The revelations are apparently contained in the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)’s report into the death, which was delivered to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) 10 days ago.
A Special Branch officer mistakenly reported that De Menezes was Hussein Osman, 27, who is facing charges of conspiracy to murder in connection with the July 21 incident.
However, once they realised their fatal error, the log was altered to read that no positive identification had been made.
A government department source told the tabloid: “It says the log was actually tampered with in a major way.
“In particular the words AND and NOT were inserted about the Osman ID, so it read ‘and it was not Osman’ rather than ‘it was Osman’.”
The log was allegedly changed at a debriefing meeting 10 hours after the Brazilian was gunned down.
It had been produced by colleagues of the officers listening to the team’s radio messages.
During the debriefing, the officers were allowed to check for errors and amend them — but crucially, the alterations were not explained and signed as they apparently should have been.
The newspaper quoted the IPCC report as reading: “This looks like an attempt to try and distance Special Branch from the decision (to shoot De Menezes).”
The source said: “It was blatant, it was clumsy.
“By doing that forgery they potentially made their colleagues back at the control room at central command at the Yard (police headquarters), and particularly their firearm officer colleagues, liable to be out in the dock for murder.”
An IPCC spokesman said the organisation “would neither confirm nor deny” anything in the alleged leak.
“We do not comment on speculation,” he said.
Asad Rehman, who represents the victim’s family, said the alleged leak strengthened relatives’ demands to see the report.
“From the family’s perspective this is just one more in a long line in lies and deception surrounding the circumstances of Jean’s death.
“It makes them more adamant to learn how and why he died. The only way that can be done is by a full public inquiry.
“They are at the end of their tether in the manner the whole death has been treated. There has been such a catalogue of disaster surrounding this case.”
The IPCC investigates deaths with either direct or indirect police involvement as a matter of course. The CPS handles criminal cases and is expected to take several months to decide whether to bring charges.