Met police sniper tells inquest he ‘really believed I was going to be killed’ when he shot and killed father of three, 41, who was waving a gun in gas station forecourt
- Police were sent to the ‘firearms incident’ at Richard Cottier’s home in East London
- Redirected to Esso gas station where he ‘threatened the public with a gun’
- Officer PW47 shouted to Cottier to drop the gun but instead aimed it at him
- Inquest told PW47 ‘thought he was going to be killed’ while fatally shooting Cottier
- Ballistics experts have since confirmed that Cottier’s weapon was a modified air rifle
Richard Cottier (pictured), 41, was fatally shot in the forecourt of a gas station after telling police he overdosed on drugs and claimed to have a firearm
A police officer feared for his life when he fatally shot a father of three who threatened people with a gun in the forecourt of a gas station, an inquest has heard.
Richard Cottier, 41, was shot dead in the early hours at a gas station in Romford, East London, after telling police he had overdosed on drugs, made threats and claimed to have a firearm.
An inquest into his death at Barking Town Hall had previously heard from Mr Cottier’s longtime partner that his actions had been a “ cry for help. ”
Today, jurors heard from one of the officers who shot Mr. Cottier who said he “sincerely believed” he was going to be murdered.
The officer cannot be identified for legal reasons and was named PW47.
PW47 provided evidence and said he was aware that just before 4:30 am a ‘firearms incident’ had been declared and Mr Cottier had been declared ‘EMD’ (emotionally or mentally distressed).
Although he and two other officers – known as F79 and KH13 – were initially told to go to Mr. Cottier’s house, they were diverted and told to “ rush ” to the Esso gas station on Collier Row Road.
PW47 said he saw a man he identified as Mr. Cottier “forcibly hit a gun at a vehicle” in the forecourt of the gas station and then “waved it at a member of the public.”
“Doing nothing was not an option … I was very concerned about what I saw,” he said.
Asked by coroner Nadia Persaud if he thought the weapon could be “lethal force,” PW47 replied, “Absolutely.”
“ I got out of the passenger seat (and) … yelled as loud a challenge as possible from ‘armed police,’ ” he said.
“We went forward as a team to get Mr. Cottier away from the audience.
Officer PW47 said he saw a man he identified as Mr. Cottier “forcibly hit a gun at a vehicle” in the forecourt of the gas station and then “waved it at a member of the public.” Pictured: Scene after recording
He walked … over to myself and F79. I kept calling out to him to drop the weapon, or words to that effect, but unfortunately Mr. Cottier took no action to drop the weapon.
He aimed the gun directly at myself and it was at that point that I fired the bullet.
“Very shortly after, there was a second shot … from F79.”
During the judicial investigation, images of the incident carried by PW47 were shown.
Stephen Simblet QC, representing Mr. Cottier’s family, asked PW47 if he had considered using his taser.
The officer replied, ‘I was facing another firearm head-on, so it was not something I would consider at the time.
‘It was a dynamic, fast-paced, evolving situation.
“At the time, I really thought I was going to be killed.”
The inquest also heard from the officer known as KH13, who said he too believed there was a “real and immediate threat to life.”
“It felt like time was slowing down,” he said.
Asked if there was a point where he doubted the weapon was real, PW47 replied, “Absolutely not.”
The police watchdog said a non-police firearm had been recovered from the scene after the incident and a ballistics expert confirmed the weapon was a modified air rifle.
PW47 added that immediately after the shots fired, he and F79 had attempted to save Mr. Cottier from the “catastrophic wound” on his neck.
“It was a matter of saving his life. We had to do everything we could to achieve that if we could, ”he said.
PW47 left the Met in 2018, but had already filed for the transfer prior to the incident.
Jurors heard it was the first time he’d ever fired his firearm.
The judicial investigation continues.