Independent Office for Police Conduct’s (IOPC) investigation into the fatal police shooting of Kelvin Igweani in 2021 found that officers acted appropriately and the use of lethal force was necessary given the circumstances.
Armed officers from Thames Valley Police (TVP) responded to a report of domestic disturbance on 26 June 2021 at a property in Denmead, Two Mile Ash.
Two armed officers entered the flat and immediately came across a dead body, subsequently identified as neighbour Richard Woodcock.
They were then confronted by Mr Igweani and a Taser was discharged, but was ineffective. Mr Igweani then moved to another room with a young child and barricaded himself inside.
Because of noises coming from the room the officers had reason to believe that he was harming the child.
They forced entry and the door fell backwards into the room causing a large wardrobe to fall on top of Mr Igweani and the child.
He then moved towards the officers with his arm raised. One officer fired four shots, with two hitting Mr Igweani. The officer who fired the shots stated they believed he had a knife in his hand.
Mr Igweani, 24, was given first aid but was sadly pronounced dead at 10.33am.
The child was taken to hospital with wounds to the left side of the head, a fracture to the left eye socket and swelling, bruising and a fracture to the left side of the skull. The child has since made a full recovery.
Last April, an inquest into Mr Woodcock’s death concluded that he had been unlawfully killed.
IOPC’s investigation into the incident concluded that force used by the officers, including the discharge of a firearm, was reasonable and necessary in the circumstances to prevent further harm to the child and there was no indication that any of the officers involved behaved in a way that would justify the bringing of disciplinary proceedings or had committed a criminal offence.
Blood pattern analysis showed the child was punched by Mr Igweani and struck, possibly with part of a wardrobe which was broken while he held the child hostage.
All of the firearms officers were treated as witnesses throughout the investigation, which concluded in March 2022.
IOPC’s final report was shared with HM Coroner to assist the coronial process.
A jury returned a conclusion of lawful killing at Milton Keynes Coroner’s Court on 19 April.
IOPC regional director, Mel Palmer, said: “I send my condolences to everyone affected by this tragic incident.
“The evidence shows the officers perceived there to be an immediate threat to life as they had seen the body of Mr Woodcock when they entered the property and heard the cries of a distressed child in another room.
“The officers, who were presented with a traumatic and distressing situation, acted swiftly to gain entry to the room to prevent further injury to the child. We found the decision to shoot Mr Igweani was necessary, proportionate and reasonable in those circumstances.
“After the shots were fired, all of the firearms officers and other police who attended immediately attempted to save Mr Igweani’s life.”
IOPC also examined concerns raised about Mr Igweani’s wellbeing prior to 26 June 2021. Four days earlier, his family contacted West Midlands Police with concerns about his mental health. They were encouraged to seek medical help, which was found to be an appropriate response.
A complaint was also made by the family concerning TVP’s scene management following the incident. IOPC found TVP’s management of the scene was appropriate.
(Source and Image: IOPC)