A police force was to blame for the fatal shooting of an unarmed man, a public inquiry has concluded.
Anthony Grainger, 36, was in a stolen car when he was shot in the chest in Cheshire in March 2012.
A judge said the shooting was legally justified, but criticised senior officers at Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for a “catastrophic series of failings and errors”.
The force said it believed Mr Grainger was planning an armed robbery.
But Judge Thomas Teague QC said an operation targeting Mr Grainger had been organised and planned “incompetently”.
Senior officers “failed to authorise, plan or conduct the firearms operation in such a way as to minimise recourse to the use of lethal force”, the judge said.
‘Litany of failures’
Mr Grainger’s partner Gail Hadfield-Grainger said “it has taken seven years but some justice has been done for Anthony” and the inquiry had shown his death “could and should have been prevented”.
She said the report highlighted “a litany of catastrophic failures”.
Mr Grainger’s mother Marina Schofield said his “devastated” family had “gone through hell to find out the true facts of what happened that night”.
She also called for “lessons to be learned”, adding: “We only hope that this outcome serves as a lesson for GMP so that others do not have to go through what we have suffered.”
Mr Grainger, from Bolton, was shot through the windscreen of a stolen Audi in a car park in Culcheth on 3 March.
The inquiry was told no firearms were found either on Mr Grainger or in the car.
The officer who shot Mr Grainger told the inquiry at Liverpool Crown Court in 2017 he fired as he thought Mr Grainger had reached down to pick up a firearm.
The judge said the officer, referred to in court as Q9, had not acted unlawfully because he “honestly but mistakenly believed Mr Grainger was reaching for a gun”.
He jumped to that wrong conclusion because of the “misleading way his superiors had briefed him beforehand”, according to Judge Teague.
GMP said it would consider the report’s findings and criticisms with “utmost care”.
“The force, our commanders, and our officers do not set out on any policing operation with the intention of firearms being discharged,” it said, adding: “This case was no different.”
The inquiry was told Mr Grainger and one of his passengers, David Totton, had been the subject of a GMP operation – Operation Shire – for some weeks, which was investigating their suspected involvement in commercial robberies.
But Judge Teague said there was no intelligence to suggest the men were armed or had access to firearms on 3 March.
The judge said if firearms commanders had planned, briefed and conducted the deployment competently, Q9 “would have been less likely to misinterpret Mr Grainger’s actions and might not have shot him”.