Police pay damages over James Ashley shooting

The family of a Hastings man shot dead by a police officer has won damages from the force.

James Ashley, 39, was killed while naked and unarmed at his home on January 15, 1998.

Legal representatives for his family today said police had admitted he was killed "as a result of police negligence and therefore unlawfully".

They said there were a series of failures over the death in Hastings.

Mr Ashley was in bed when officers burst into his home at 4am.

He was shot in front of his girlfriend after incorrect intelligence suggested he might be armed.

Sussex Police said the force would pay compensation and apologise but did not accept the death was unlawful killing.

Mr Ashley's son, James, said: "The police killed my dad illegally.

"They have now admitted it and apologised, and at last I know everything that happened.

"They have paid me damages. I can now try and build the life I lost the day they shot my dad when I was just 14."

A statement issued by the force said the officer who fired the fatal shot had mistakenly believed his life and that of another officer were in danger.

It said police had admitted negligence and reached a settlement with the family.

"Sussex Police wishes to reiterate that the death of James Ashley was a tragedy which should never have occurred and it was caused by a series of failures at levels of Sussex Police in relation to events prior to the raid and its planning and execution," it added.

"Sussex Police also acknowledges that there were serious shortcomings in the way in which the aftermath of Mr Ashley's death was handled."