Haggerston police shooting: Tyrone Henry describes moment he led officers on barefoot chase through streets with gun
- Credit: Archant
A man who fled armed police carrying a loaded pistol that was fired into a detective’s chest moments later claims he only came into its possession so he could “sort out a beef” between his friends.
Father-of-four Tyrone Henry, 31, today told the Old Bailey how he jumped from a first-floor window of his Haggerston home to evade police as they raided the flat looking for the weapon.
The Phoenix Close flat, shared with his pregnant social worker girlfriend, was being searched during an operation to recover the gun on October 15 last year.
Henry said he then picked up the gun – which he had “assumed was loaded” when it was delivered to his home the night before – from beneath his toddler son’s trolley where he had hidden it in the garden, and climbed over a roof “to get away from my missus’ house”.
He was only wearing white socks as he ran with the gun under his arm “like a rugby ball” wrapped in a Tesco carrier bag, chased by about 10 officers wearing body-mounted cameras, who tripped him up around the corner in Scriven Street.
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Henry was charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life after the gun went off and a detective was hit by a bullet in his chest as Henry allegedly struggled to resist arrest.
Jurors heard how Henry had already been convicted twice for possession of a firearm. The first time, aged 18, he was sentenced to four years in a young offender’s institution, while in 2007 he was picked up by police with a loaded gun on his way to the Notting Hill Carnival and sentenced to eight years in prison.
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Henry, who kept glancing up at the public gallery where his girlfriend was sitting, said on his release he had vowed to “just to stay away from them [guns]”. “I’d wasted too much of my life in prison away from my kids,” he said.
Henry, whose fourth child was born while he was in custody following the incident in October, was unemployed but would help out at the Shakespeare Walk youth club, giving children advice if they were “thinking of doing something crazy, or if they were involved in crime”.
He described how he had asked a “sensible youth” to bring him the gun to sort out a “beef between his mates” which was “getting out of control”, after one of them was shot and another was stabbed in his thigh the day before the police raid.
“I was just trying to stop this beef that was going on in between my people,” he told the court. “It was as simple as that – someone was going to die.”
Prosecuting, Mr Mayo said: “You had made a conscious decision to lead a law abiding life, so [given] the prospect of taking a gun into your possession you must have thought of the consequences for your partner and child.
“The truth of the matter is that the gun was for yourself, and that’s why you were prepared to run the risk of being caught with it and take it into your home.
“If you were really trying to prevent further death and injury when the police arrived you could have said: ‘Come in. I have an idea of why you are here. I have got a gun in the garden and I’m trying to take it out of circulation’.”
“Yeah, I could have said that but I’ve got two gun charges,” replied Henry.
“My first instincts were to grab it and run.”
Mr Mayo continued: “There were many officers trying to restrain you and get hold of the gun. It must have been abundantly obvious someone was going to get badly hurt or dead.”
“No, the safety catch was on,” replied Henry.
Henry has admitted possession of the gun, but denies possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.
The trial continues.