Harry Stanley’s case is just as tragic as Jean Charles de Menezes’, says film director

Harry Stanley

Harry Stanley - Credit: Archant

Jeremiah Quinn’s film, The Strange Death of Harry Stanley - about an innocent man gunned down by police - was shown at the Hackney Picturehouse last night to mark its availability to view online.

Harry Stanley's widow Irene with film maker Jeremiah Quinn and the trophy the film was awarded in Mi

Harry Stanley's widow Irene with film maker Jeremiah Quinn and the trophy the film was awarded in Milan for Best Short Film. Photo credit Marica Melotti - Credit: Archant

An award-winning documentary about the Scottish man carrying a broken table leg - who was shot in the head by police who mistook him for a terrorist with a sawn-off shotgun - is now available to view online.

Harry Stanley’s decision to help his brother repair a broken table on September 22 1999 began a chain of events ending with his death.

Walking home with the leg wrapped in a plastic bag, he stopped off to order a lemonade at The Alexandra pub in Victoria Park Road, which is now known as The Lauriston.

Someone phoned 999 to report an Irishman carrying a gun wrapped in a bag, and just 100 yards from Mr Stanley’s home in Warneford Street the 46-year old father-of-three was gunned down by police officers.

The marksmen claimed Mr Stanley had turned around and pointed what they thought was a gun at them - but the shot wounds were in the back of his head

A jury’s verdict of unlawful killing in 2004 was quashed the following year by a High Court judge on the grounds of insufficient evidence.

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In October 2005 the Crown Prosecution Service dropped charges of murder against the two officers involved.

Film director Jeremiah Quinn was compelled to make the film two years ago to ensure the memory of Mr Stanley did not slip away into obscurity.

He said: “There are so many things particularly tragic about this, he had a newborn grandson, he was just recovering from a huge operation for colon cancer, he asked his brother to play pool with him, and his brother’s last words were, “I cannae be bothered.”

“The film is about his day and he’s celebrating life, he believed he had a future, and the police turned up and killed him.”

He continued: “It is important people in Hackney and London start talking about his tragic case again - it’s something that moves people a lot, and putting it online means it can get to anyone who cares.

“Jean Charles de Menezes is a household name, if you say Harry Stanley people don’t have that recollection, but in some ways he’s a lot unluckier than Menezes.”

A screening of the 10-minute film, The Strange Death of Harry Stanley - which won the Best Short Film award at the Milan Film Festival - was held at the Hackney Picturehouse last night to mark its availability to view online.

Mr Stanley’s widow Irene attended, along with the film’s cast and crew, Terry Stewart who led the campaign group Justice for Harry Stanley and members of INQUEST, which works for coroners’ courts reform.

Mr Stewart said: “We feel this is an injection of new life into the fact we never believed the family got real justice.

“There were two inquests and three different hearings in high courts and a decision taken by a coroner’s jury was overtaken by a high court judge - you can get justice and the good old legal system will overturn it,” he said.

The film is available to view at www.youtube.com/watch?v=KefAo_cqgGw.

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