Singing detective’s private joke backfires

A Scotland Yard firearms officer is being investigated after it was alleged that he inserted song titles into his evidence at the inquest on a barrister shot dead by police.

Mark Saunders died after a siege at his home in Markham Square, Chelsea, in May 2008. An inquest found he was lawfully killed.

The officer, who is known only by his codename AZ8, allegedly played a game as he gave evidence under oath at the inquest in September. He was initially reprimanded by his Metropolitan Police line manager, but yesterday it was announced that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) would investigate after senior officers felt a reprimand was insufficient.

The officer, who is a member of the force’s CO19 firearms unit, could lose his job if the allegations are proven. The IPCC is also investigating whether other officers were involved in placing song titles into their evidence.

AZ8 was one of of seven officers who shot Saunders after police responded to reports that the barrister had been firing his shotgun from the window of his home. A bullet from AZ8’s carbine rifle hit Saunders in the head. AZ8 gave his evidence to Westminster Coroner’s Court on September 27 this year.

Although it has not been confirmed which song titles the officer is alleged to have used, an examination of the transcript reveals several phrases used by AZ8 which are the titles of songs.

He spoke about how, since the operation, he had reflected upon it during “Quiet Moments” – the title of a Chris de Burgh song. Describing the moment he decided to open fire on Saunders – who had been waving the weapon around for five hours before he was killed – AZ8 says he decided “Enough is Enough”, which is the title of a Donna Summer hit, and that he had reached the “Point of No Return” – a song from Phantom of the Opera. At one point he talked about being in the “Line of Fire”, the name of a track by Journey.

It is not known why AZ8 allegedly inserted song titles into his evidence, but, during the hearing, repeated references were made to a song by the Doors.

Saunders had sent a friend a text message with the words: “This is the end my only friend, the end” – a line from the song The End.

The barrister also listened to this and other Doors songs as the police tried to negotiate with him.

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