James Wilson (pictured above) had refused to put down a rifle in South Shields
The death of a man who was shot by a firearms officer after shouting “go for it” at police as he clutched an air rifle was a lawful killing, an inquest jury has ruled.
James Wilson had been hit with a plastic bullet and then a round from a police rifle after the 24-year-old had refused to put down an air rifle in South Shields in March 2016.
Northumbria Police firearms officer PC Perry Lisle had feared that he and others had been at risk and had ‘acted in self-defence’. Mr Wilson died three days after the incident.
Mr Wilson had called Northumbria Police in the early hours of March 29 2016 to demand armed response officers come to see him, saying he had a 9mm handgun and would shoot officers who arrived.
It was heard that armed officers had shouted ‘seven times’ for him to put down the gun he was carrying before they fired first a plastic bullet then, five seconds later, a round from a rifle which hit him in the chest.
PC Lisle who has now retired, told the jury he had ‘honestly believed’ he had been acting in self-defence and had worried that someone could have been killed or injured during the incident.
PC Lisle, who has a police career spanning over 26 years, also added that it was the first time a weapon had ever been directly pointed at him.
PC Lisle, who has since retired, told the jury he feared if he did not act someone could be injured or killed.
The inquest heard that Mr Wilson, had been warned seven times to lower the weapon before police took action.
James Wilson was shot dead on Frenchman’s Way (pictured above) and had been taken to hospital for treatment
Mr Wilson had confronted police officers in Frenchman’s Way on 29 March 2016 and the inquest had earlier heard that his father Carl Wilson, had told Newcastle coroner Karen Dilks that he thought his son had wanted to ‘use the police to commit suicide’.
The inquest also heard that Mr Wilson had shared 48 bottles of beer with a friend in the hours leading up to his death.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) undertook an investigation into the shooting and found that the response of Northumbria Police had been correct.
Tributes had been left for James Wilson on Frenchman’s Way following the incident in 2016
In a statement the IOPC said: ‘We found Mr Wilson had made a number of calls to Northumbria Police from the early hours of 29 March and was considered to be emotionally and mentally distressed.
‘He made threats to police, confirming that he was in possession of ‘a gun’ and would shoot any police officers who approached him.
‘Our thoughts remain with Mr Wilson’s family and friends and all those affected by this tragic incident.’
James Wilson’s former girlfriend Kayleigh Reay (pictured above) had attended the inquest into his death
After the hearing, Mr Wilson’s mother Tracy Todd said: ‘All I’ve got to say is that I was right all along, my son didn’t commit suicide, and that’s it.’
The inquest had previously heard audio of Mr Wilson shouting ‘go for it’ at firearms officers, and saying ‘ah cushty’ after the round of rubber bullets was fired.
In the minutes before the confrontation, Mr Wilson repeatedly asked the police call handler when the armed response officers were coming and had made threats.
Police had cordoned off the area in South Shields, following the incident