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October 15th 2021

Inquests

Lewis Skelton inquest findings: Statement from Hudgell Solicitors

Dr Neil Hudgell

Dr Neil Hudgell

Executive Chairman

Lewis Skelton inquest findings: Statement from Hudgell Solicitors

A jury has returned a verdict that Lewis Skelton of Hull, who died after being shot by armed officers from Humberside Police in November 2016, was ‘unlawfully killed’. At the conclusion of the inquest, solicitor Neil Hudgell, of Hudgell Solicitors, who represents the family of Mr Skelton, made the following statement:

A jury has returned a verdict that Lewis Skelton of Hull, who died after being shot by armed officers from Humberside Police in November 2016, was ‘unlawfully killed’. At the conclusion of the inquest, solicitor Neil Hudgell, of Hudgell Solicitors, who represents the family of Mr Skelton, made the following statement:

“When stripping this incident back to its basic, undeniable facts, a young man who had not threatened anyone that day died at the hands of armed police officers from Humberside Police who shot him twice.

“The fact Lewis had an axe in his hand as he walked the streets could not be ignored. A police response was appropriate, but sadly the response of the police was not.

“Lewis had walked past many people, but not approached anyone. Yes, people had expressed concern, but people were not threatened, and when police armed response teams were alerted, they were told it was a ‘low-threat situation’.

“Sadly, from that point, a series of events unfolded in which decisions were made which were wholly inappropriate for the situation. The family are grateful to the members of the jury for recognising that.

“A decision was taken by officers before they arrived at the scene to take only Tasers and handguns from their vehicle, and so another non-lethal option, rubber baton rounds, were not available.

“When the Tasers failed to impact on Lewis, probably because of the thickness of his clothing, the only other option was the handguns, which of course were the subsequently used, and Lewis lost his life.

“Allegations were made by officers that Lewis at one stage turned to them and raised the axe above his head in a threatening manner, but this was never captured on CCTV.

“Finally, after Lewis was first shot with the handgun it was clear he would not be getting away.

“To shoot him a second time was brutal, bringing a tragic end which had been avoidable.

Lewis Skelton with his sisters
Lewis Skelton with his sisters

“Lewis’ family have had to listen to evidence of what will have been a completely terrifying last few minutes of his life.

“Today, thanks to the Coroner and the jury, they feel they have justice, although of course, that cannot bring Lewis back. They are now to take some time to reflect on today’s significant conclusion.”

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