Today (Friday 15th October 2021), a jury at Hull Coroner’s Court has found that it was more likely than not that Lewis Skelton was unlawfully killed.
We are disappointed with this conclusion and are concerned that it does not undermine the confidence of officers to act decisively when making split-second decisions to protect the public.
Prior to this verdict, the IOPC in their independent investigation found that the actions taken by our officers on that day, in what was a complex and challenging situation requiring fast-time decision making, were proportionate to the risk that was identified to members of the public.
Following a change in the law last year, such conclusions are no longer assessed in the coroner’s courts by the more exacting standards that they used to be. Additionally, the jury had to make its decision in very different circumstances to those that confronted the officers on the day.
Our officers responded to four 999 calls to a man armed with, and waving, an unsheathed axe marching towards the city centre who did not stop despite four attempts to taser him.
In light of the IOPC’s full and independent investigation, which came to very different conclusions to those of the jury, in that, they found that no police officers had either committed a criminal offence or behaved in a manner which would justify disciplinary proceedings, we now await further directions from the IOPC. We respect the decision made by the jury today.
Our thoughts remain with Lewis’ family and friends, and the officers involved in this very sad and tragic event. We hope today has brought them some closure as to the events of 29th November 2016.