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Menezes death 'a tragic mistake'

Jean Charles de Menezes was killed by "tragic" misidentification, a senior police chief has said. Chief Inspector Vince Esposito, who helped develop Scotland Yard tactics for dealing with suicide bombers, was a senior adviser in events leading to the Brazilian's death.

Chief Inspector Vince Esposito helped develop Scotland Yard's strategy for dealing with suicide bombers after the September 11 attacks on New York in 2001
Asked what went wrong, Mr Esposito said: "The events that happened on that day for me, as a tactical adviser, boil down to one simple thing - and that is the misidentification.
"It's as simple as that for me, sir, as the tactical adviser. It's a tragedy sir."
He said he believed "without a shadow of doubt" that Mr de Menezes was failed 21/7 bomber Hussain Osman.

Mr Esposito, who is giving evidence in public for the first time, was working alongside Deputy Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick as an adviser on the day Mr de Menezes was killed.

He said he advised Ms Dick to deploy firearms officers rather than allow surveillance officers to intervene after Mr de Menezes got off a bus near Stockwell Tube station in south London.

He added: "My thought processes were: 'What are we asking those officers to do?'
"We were asking them to do an armed intervention in possibly the most difficult circumstances imaginable."

He earlier admitted he was not prepared for the pursuit of failed attackers, saying: "It was really quite unprecedented." Mr Esposito was a senior figure involved in developing anti-terror firearm tactics after the September 11 attacks on New York, in 2001.
He said tactics were based on "information we had gleaned from around the world to be brought back to aid our own understanding."

When asked if, under those tactics, a "critical shot" was only administered if a suspect was identified and was carrying a device, he replied: "That's correct, sir."
He confirmed officers were trained to avoid shooting potential suicide bombers in the body to ensure they did not set off any explosive device.

Mr de Menezes, 27, was killed by specialist firearms officers who mistook him for Hussain Osman after boarding a train at Stockwell on July 22 2005.

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