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Force Pleads Guilty Over Shooting

Police Force Faces Unlimited Fine


A police force is facing an unlimited fine after admitting its failings led to a civilian worker being shot during a gun awareness exercise.

Thames Valley Constabulary pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches at Southwark Crown Court over the incident in which control-room worker Keith Tilbury was shot in the stomach.

Police firearms instructor David Micklethwaite denied a charge of breaching the health and safety at work laws.

He is accused of "engaging in the pointing of weapons and the pulling of a trigger during role play in the classroom", loading the Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum Revolver with ammunition stored in a Quality Street tin, "failing to examine or check the round of ammunition" and discharging the weapon "while inadvertently pointing the weapon at Keith Tilbury".

Mr Tilbury, 51, an employee of Thames Valley Police Authority, had to undergo a number of emergency operations after he was shot at point-blank range at the Thames Valley Police headquarters in Kidlington, Oxfordshire, in 2007.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

David Urpeth from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “I am pleased that the police force have pleaded guilty following this terrible work accident.

“Employers need to ensure the health and safety of workers and clearly their failure to do so led to Mr Tilbury being seriously injured in this accident at work.”