On 4 August 2011 my life changed forever. My son and first child, Mark Duggan, was shot and killed by armed police officers just two miles away from where we live. Even though this terrible tragedy occurred a short distance from the family home it took the police several weeks to come to us, Bruno & I, to formally tell us that our son had been shot and killed by Met officers.
In the interim we had been forced to learn about Mark's last moments via the media. We also had to endure the sight of people taking to the streets up and down the country with media pundits linking these riots to our son's name.
But Mark wasn't to blame for the riots, I blame the IPCC for they were the ones who briefed certain sections of the media that there had been a shootout, where my son fired the first shot, which we now know not to have been the case.
In fact we learnt during the Inquest that none of the 11 CO19 officers who were present at the scene had made any comment or statement to the IPCC alleging that Mark had fired a bullet.
This is why I have started a petition on change.org asking the Home Secretary, Theresa May, to grant us a full and independent public inquiry into the practices of, the now defunct Operation Trident murder units and their involvement with criminal informers and agents provocateurs within the community.
For families who have lost loved ones in tragic circumstances the Inquest courtroom is probably the first opportunity that you will get to hear what happened in the moments before their death in real detail. We learnt a lot at Mark's inquest. I heard enough to make me accept that Mark did pick up a gun, although I didn't want to believe this as it is totally out of character for him and his minor criminal record attests to this, the evidence has forced me to accept that this was the case.
If Mark was breaking the law then he should have been arrested and punished for his crime, if he had been arrested and charged then I am sure that he would be free today! But he isn't and the question that I cannot get an answer to is, why did he have to die?
This was a planned operation where the police knew what was going to happen before it did, so why did it go so badly wrong? I am currently recuperating from my third operation for cancer since Mark died, I have undergone chemotherapy and radiation therapy but the pain of recuperation does not match the pain of not knowing why my Mark had to be killed on that day!
When we eventually met with the IPCC Commissioner, Rachel Cerfontyne, she promised me that she would carry out a thorough and rigorous investigation into all of the circumstances leading up to my Mark's death, but she has failed to deliver on her promises.
Instead she presided over an investigation that operated on the basis that the police's account of events were true.
When commissioning scientific and medical experts the IPCC did so based on the hypothesis that Mark had a gun in his hand when shot, even though she had personally promised me that she would investigate the possibility that the gun was put there after Mark had been killed but we learnt during the Inquest that this very obvious scenario was was never looked into. I believe that this lack of independence shown by the IPCC directly contributed to the perverse verdict 'lawful killing' at the end of my son's Inquest.
The jury clearly did not believe the police's version of events in which they say Mark had gun in hand and was about to shoot, they chose to believe that Mark had thrown the gun before he was shot, yet still decided on it being lawful as the IPCC chose not to provide them with any alternative theories.
But we now know that there is more to this story than was revealed during the Inquest. Journalist, David Rose's article in the Mail on Sunday reveals that the gun, that was found 14 feet away from my son's body, had been used twice in the weeks before it was passed on to Mark. He also reveals that the supplier of the gun Kevin Hutchinson-Foster had previously been arrested by Operation Trident officers and charged with the illegal possession of a firearm as well as supplying Class A drugs. During the Inquest senior officers from Operation Trident testified that they knew that Hutchinson-Foster was the intended supplier and that he had 3 guns under his control.
Yet they shot and killed my son in cold blood to retrieve one of those guns whilst leaving the armourer free to sell on the rest of his wares. I am not the only one to be confused by the Mets reluctance to arrest the gun supplier as the Inquest Coroner later wrote, post the Inquest verdict, in his Schedule 5 Report to Prevent Future Deaths " Yet, once Mark Duggan had collected one gun from him no further thought appears to have been given to seizing the other guns or even to arresting Kevin Hutchinson-Foster". In fact Hutchinson-Foster was not arrested until 24.10.11 by which time he had gotten rid of the other guns.
Last night, we held a vigil to remember Mark but also demand justice. We need to know what exactly was going on in Operation Trident and answers to the questions raised in the last few months. Four years on I didn't think i would still be saying these words. And I won't stop this campaign until we get the justice we need.