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Ian Tomlinson death: Police chief denies PC Harwood is 'fall guy'

Ulster peer accuses Sir Paul Stephenson of sacrificing Harwood, who fatally injured Ian Tomlinson at G20 protests

Britain’s most senior police officer has denied making a “fall guy” out of Simon Harwood, the officer found to have unlawfully killed Ian Tomlinson at the G20 protests.

Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan police commissioner, was accused by the Ulster Unionist peer Lord Maginnis of being prepared to “surrender” PC Harwood.

An inquest jury concluded on Tuesday that Tomlinson was unlawfully killed when Harwood struck him with a baton and pushed him to the ground during the demonstrations in London on 1 April 2009.

The director of public prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, is considering whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute Harwood for manslaughter. He previously said he believed there was not.

*Ulster peer accuses Sir Paul Stephenson of sacrificing Harwood, who fatally injured Ian Stephenson said it was right to recognise the “observations and conclusions” of the jury. “It has to be a matter of very real regret for any commissioner to be in a situation where there has been a finding that somebody has died as a result of one of his officers. That’s a simple statement. It’s fact. That’s not jumping to a judgment.”

He was responding to comments from Maginnis, who said: “It’s worried me that you, as a leader of the police, were prepared to sacrifice a constable who I believe should have the full support of the police service. The idea that you are going to surrender him to the vagaries of the press, who have been calling for his blood, horrifies me. I do hope the police will give some tangible support to that young constable who I believe must not be a fall guy.”

The jury in the inquest took just over three hours to conclude beyond reasonable doubt that Tomlinson had been fatally injured by the 43-year-old police officer as he tried to make his way home from work amid the G20 rallies.

The jury noted Tomlinson had been obeying police requests and had posed no threat when Harwood struck him from behind. Pathologists later concluded that the 47-year-old father of nine died from internal bleeding.

Harwood will be the first officer to face a public Metropolitan police disciplinary inquiry, where he stands accused of inadvertently causing or contributing to Tomlinson’s death.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/may/05/tomlinson-harwood-fall-guy-stephenson