Jury retires to consider verdict in South Shields police shooting inquest

James Carlo Wilson, inset, and the shooting scene
James Carlo Wilson, inset, and the shooting scene

The jury at an inquest into the death of a South Tyneside man who was shot by police has  today retired to consider its verdict.

Jury members were told they must decide if James Carlo Wilson, 24, committed suicide by provoking police to shot him, or if he was lawfully killed by officers.

Karen Dilks, senior coroner for Newcastle, said those were the only possible verdicts they could deliver.

Mr Wilson, of Candlish Street, South Shields, was shot in the early hours of March 29, 2016, outside his former girlfriend’s home in Frenchman’s Way, South Shields.

He had telephoned police twice that night, in one call saying he was armed with a 9mm gun and would shoot officers who arrived at the scene.

The inquest, which today entered its third week, has heard he died in hospital three days later from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Mrs Dilks told the jury its verdict could be suicide if it believed Mr Wilson’s behaviour and actions were intended to create a situation where police would shoot him, thereby ending his life.

Alternatively, it could decide he had been lawfully killed if the officers who confronted him held the honest belief that he was going to shoot them.

In this case, they must also be sure that the amount of force used was reasonable and proportionate to the risk they faced.

She said: “We are not concerned with attributing blame, just concerned with establishing the facts.

“It’s open to you to accept one point of view of a witness testimony, and reject another.”

The jury was told it must answer 16 questions around the circumstances of his death.

These include if he was challenged by authorised police officers and told to put down is weapon, and did he point his weapon at officers.

Other test points were was the response of Northumbria Police, its tactics and conduct in line with national guidelines, and did the air pistol he was found to have resemble a genuine firearm.

The inquest has heard Mr Wilson was ordered by police to drop his weapon seven times, but failed to do so.

He was first shot with an attenuating energy projectile (AEP) - a type of rubber bullet – which failed to drop him to the ground.

Five seconds later, a second officer fired a bullet from a rifle, which caused fatal injuries.

It has been claimed Mr Wilson wanted to go out in a ‘blaze of glory’ and had deliberately put himself in the firing line so as to ‘commit suicide’.