A mother has welcomed the decision to charge the police marksman who shot and killed her son with murder.

Azelle Rodney, of Hounslow, was just 24 when he was shot six times by the officer, known only as E7, on April 30, 2005, in Edgware. Police believed the car in which he was travelling was on the way to rob a Colombian drugs gang.

His mother Susan Alexander's campaign for justice led to a public inquiry which finished last year, at which chairman Sir Christopher Holland ruled E7 had no lawful justification for killing Mr Rodney.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which had initially decided not to prosecute the officer, yesterday announced that after reviewing the inquiry's findings it had now brought charges against him.

The officer, who was granted anonymity ahead of the inquiry, is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on September 10 for a preliminary hearing.

No criminal action will be taken against the Metropolitan Police, which was also criticised by Sir Christopher for its management of the operation which ended in Mr Rodney's shooting.

Azelle Rodney, of Hounslow, was shot dead by police officers in April 2005
Azelle Rodney
 

Ms Alexander said: "I am very pleased at the CPS's decision to prosecute the officer who killed  my son.  I have waited a long time to see this day and hope this prosecution will lead to justice for Azelle.

"Whilst I am disappointed at the decision not to prosecute the Commissioner (of the Metropolitan Police) in relation to the failures which were found by Sir Christopher regarding the planning and control of the operation, his report makes clear that there were significant failures on the part of the Metropolitan Police and we deserve an immediate and unreserved apology for those failures.”

Ms Alexander's demand for a public apology from Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe was echoed by her solicitor Daniel Machover, of Hickman and Rose, and by the charity INQUEST, which has supported her campaign.

A Met Police spokesman said it would be inappropriate to comment on the case as proceedings were active.

"The MPS runs firearms operations daily to take guns off the streets. Our officers are highly-trained and professional and fire shots only once or twice a year. We accept that where this happens, our officers will be subject to detailed scrutiny," he added.

"We keep our firearms tactics constantly under review and have accepted the recommendations made by the public inquiry into Azelle Rodney's death."

Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions for the CPS, said: "The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. We have determined that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is in the public interest."

E7 had lodged two appeals against the findings of the inquiry, both of which were rejected by High Court judges.