31 May 2024

HM Senior Coroner for Westminster, Professor Fiona Wilcox
Westminster Coroner’s Court 
13 May – 31 May 2024

An inquest Jury has today concluded that Hassan Yahya, a 30 year old Black man, was lawfully killed when he was shot by a City of London police officer in central London on the night of 8 March 2020.

Hassan was in possession of two knives and was pursued on foot by the Ministry of Defence and Metropolitan Police (MPS) officers from the Southbank and across Hungerford Bridge to Northumberland Avenue and Great Scotland Yard. Hassan made no attempts to harm any members of the public.

The inquest heard evidence from consultant psychiatrist, Dr Akenzua, that Hassan suffered with paranoid schizophrenia for a number of years, had been prematurely discharged from mental health care services, and that it was likely that his paranoid schizophrenia was responsible for his actions on 8 March 2020.

Hassan’s family described him as very funny and not one to fight with others or to complain. His uncle has fond memories of playing football together when they were young and reconnecting when they found each other again as adults in the UK.  

The inquest heard that:

  • The Tactical Firearms Advisor accepted that he ruled out the possibility that Mr Yahya should be considered Emotionally or Mentally Distressed (‘EMD’), despite Hassan’s behaviour seeming odd.
  • Despite the fact that the incident had been declared a ‘Trojan stop only’, meaning that only authorised firearm officers (AFOs) should intervene, two unarmed MPS officers did not follow the direction. One of those officers accepted that his involvement may have escalated the situation.
  • Hassan was shot within seconds of an armed officer deploying from his vehicle. It was not accepted by the family that there was sufficient evidence to show that the officers were in imminent danger at this point. 

After hearing evidence over a two-week period, the Senior Coroner directed the jury to return a shortform conclusion of Lawful Killing and that no other issues could have caused or contributed to the death. This decision from the Coroner was shocking and extremely disappointing for the family, who are now considering a legal challenge.

In their narrative conclusion the jury did record that:

  • The police communication was insufficient and could have been clearer throughout,
  •  That greater weight could have been given to EMD;
  •  It was a significant ommission that no officers in the armed police vehicle turned on their body worn cameras

Speaking on behalf of the family, El-Tahir Adam, said: “It was terrible to lose Hassan in this way, and we have had to be very patient and wait for the inquest to take place.

I had hoped that we would get some answers from the inquest process, but I feel very disappointed with how the Coroner has conducted this investigation despite the best efforts of my legal team who I wish to thank.

Hassan was not well and extremely vulnerable, but he did not harm anyone, and I believe that there were opportunities for the police to recognise that and treat him differently.

I am extremely disappointed that the jury were directed to find that Hassan was lawfully killed and not even able to decide a number of issues that I believe to be failings by the police in Hassan’s case, in particular the communication between police about the incident; the way police confronted Hassan when he was walking after crossing the bridge; and whether they considered his mental health.

BX222, the officer who shot Hassan did so extremely quickly after he got out of the car. It was a matter of seconds, and I don’t believe he could have assessed Hassan that quickly.

I am also disappointed with the absence of important body worn video evidence from multiple officers who interacted with Hassan, including BX222 who had not turned his camera on. I am considering the options available to challenge the Coroner’s decisions.”

Elaine Macdonald of Broudie Jackson Canter Solicitors said: “Mr Adam has shown great dignity throughout these difficult proceedings, which have taken over four years to conclude, to try and get answers. We are disappointed that an engaged Jury were not permitted to make any critical causative findings in any way about the incident that led to Hassan’s death. 

Families need the inquest process to ask robust questions of the state in the most serious of incidents like this, where lethal force has been used on a vulnerable individual. We are now considering the next steps and advising the family at this stage.”



For further information please contact Leila Hagmann on [email protected].

The family is represented by INQUEST Lawyers Group members Elaine Macdonald of Broudie Jackson Canter Solicitors, and Ifeanyi Odogwu and Vedrana Pehar of Matrix Chambers. The family is supported by INQUEST caseworker Jordan Ferdinand-Sargeant.

Other Interested Persons represented were the City of London Police, the Metropolitan Police Service, and the Ministry of Defence. The Independent Office for Police Conduct was also an Interested Person.

Photo of Hassan.