Police Lawfully Killed HSBC Robbers

An inquest jury's decided that two robbers shot dead by police as they attempted to raid a security van were lawfully killed.

Gang leader Mark Nunes, 35, was shot by a police marksman when he ran towards a G4S security guard and pointed a loaded 9mm handgun at his head outside the HSBC bank in Chandler's Ford, in September 2007, the jury decided at Winchester Coroner's Court.

His accomplice Andrew Markland, 36, was shot twice by another marksman from the Metropolitan Police's CO19 firearms team when he ran across the road and picked up the gun, the jury of two men and nine women also found.

Officers were lying in wait for the gang after receiving intelligence that Nunes was planning to hold up a cash delivery van in the town.

Police had been investigating Nunes and his accomplices for a year and the gang was responsible for similar raids across southern England that netted more than £500,000.

The "meticulously planned'' covert operation on September 13 by the Met's Flying Squad had been set up to intercept and detain ringleader Nunes, from Streatham, South London and his gang, which included Markland, a chef, from Brixton, south London.

But an armed officer who had seen the "overt act'' when Nunes pulled the gun, opened fire and shot him. Markland ran over, picked up the gun and he too was shot.

He was then seen moving so another shot was fired into his chest, the hearing was told.

Surveillance teams had spotted Markland in a bus stop over the road from the bank, and then Nunes as a passenger in a Volvo estate. But police did not pounce because they still did not have enough evidence, the hearing in Winchester was told.

Instead they waited for two minutes until Nunes made his move.

The last moments of the two men were captured on a surveillance video shot by the Met and it was shown to the jury during the six-week hearing.

The hearing heard from the police commander on the ground that day Detective Chief Inspector Terry Wilson who said that officers needed to catch Nunes in the act as there was not enough evidence to arrest him.

He told the hearing that Nunes took officers "by surprise'' when he pulled out a gun.

Post-mortem examinations found Nunes died from a high-velocity gunshot wound to the chest which exited through the neck and Markland died from two separate high-velocity gunshot wounds to the chest.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which investigated the shootings, said today they would not release the video, shown to the jury, of the men being shot.

The coroner in the case, Grahame Short told the hearing that he had no issues with its release but added he did not have the power to force its publication.

An IPCC spokeswoman said the decision had been discussed at length but it was considered too distressing for the families of the dead men to be shown.

The families were not in court to hear the verdicts and their legal teams told the court they had been instructed to withdraw before the verdicts were delivered.

It is believed the families were unhappy that the coroner had told the jury it could only deliver verdicts of lawful killing or an open verdict.