An inquest jury found today that the death of Mrs Dorothy “Cherry” Groce was the result of serious and multiple police failures on the part of officers across the ranks.
Lee Lawrence, Mrs Groce’s son, said:
“We have always known that the shooting of our mum was not an accident. For 29 years the police have had a copy of the report which clearly identifies the multiple, serious failures behind the shooting. However, that report was not shared with my family until the run up to this inquest. The verdict of this jury serves to break the silence in which we have suffered since the shooting in September 1985. My mum is the hero in this: she inspired us as a family for fight for the truth. Today the truth is our victory.”
Deborah Coles of INQUEST said:
“The shooting of Cherry Groce was devastating for her and her family. Their 29 year struggle for accountability included a lengthy battle to obtain public funding to be represented at the inquest, in circumstances where apparently unlimited funds are available to the Commissioner and individual police officers. Legal aid ensured the first and only rigorous public examination of the evidence which has resulted in today’s welcome conclusions.
It is vital both for the family and public interest that when citizens are shot by police officers, there is a robust and fearless inquiry into the appropriateness and lawfulness of that use of force. However cuts to legal aid mean that similar cases may well not receive this kind of vital public scrutiny.”
Clare Richardson of Bhatt Murphy, solicitors, for the family said:
“In the last two weeks the inquest jury heard evidence of the series of catastrophic police failures that led to the shooting of Mrs Groce. Those failures were first brought of the attention of the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner 29 years ago. The fact that these failures have now seen the light of day is thanks to the determination and courage of the family of Mrs Groce, and for this we all owe them a debt of gratitude.”