'Offficers gagged us' claim family of de Menezes
London Times | August 18, 2005
By Daniel McGrory
|THE family of Jean Charles de Menezes claimed last night that Scotland Yard had tried to bully and gag them and that the police gave a misleading account to a pathologist about how the 27-year-old died.
Lawyers said that if these accusations were proved, more officers could face possible charges along with the police marksmen. Alex Alvez Pereira, a cousin of Mr de Menezes, demanded that the marksmen should face murder charges, along with those who gave the order to shoot.
A list of allegations made by the family amounts to what their lawyers claim was a deliberate “blanket of secrecy and a cover-up” by Scotland Yard.
The parents of Mr de Menezes have called for the police officers who were involved in the death of their son to be punished. “These police officers killed him and they have to be punished,” a sobbing Senhora Maria Otoni de Menezes said on Brazil’s SBT television.
Other relatives will urge the independent investigators to include the family’s list of allegations in the official inquiry. Among them is a claim that the police tried to get Brazilian diplomats in London to persuade Mr de Menezes’s parents not to ask for a second post-mortem examination.
When one was carried out, five days after the killing, some police officers leading the investigation spoke to the pathologist and gave him details of the shooting which, the lawyers claim, the officers at that time should have known were false.
Relatives claim that after the shooting they were moved to a Surrey hotel where the telephone lines in their rooms were cut to stop them explaining to their family in Brazil what had happened.
They have drawn up 14 questions, such as who mistakenly identified an innocent electrician as a suicide bomber when the surveillance teams were carrying photographs of their target suspects.
One key question is why Mr de Menezes was allowed to leave home, get on a bus, walk to a station and board a Tube train without being arrested.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is still investigating and will meet Harriet Wistrich, the solicitor for the family, today to update her on their findings.