A police officer who shot dead a man at a Sydney shopping mall in 2012 deserves a bravery award, New South Wales deputy state coroner Paul MacMahon said in findings handed down today.
Inspector Tony Austin killed Darren Neill at Westfield shopping centre at Parramatta on 25 March 2012, after Neill led police on car chase on the M4 motorway.
The officer’s actions were scrutinised during an inquiry which examined his justification for shooting Neill, who had a history of drug use and a number of criminal convictions, according to ABC News.
According to media reports of the findings, handed down at Glebe Coroners Court today, the officer was justified in using lethal force after chasing a bloodied and shirtless Neill through the shopping centre.
Austin pursued him until he was cornered in a garbage area, at which point Neill turned and approached him with a knife. Austin tripped over as he fired, and Neill fell onto him and died.
MacMahon said he would be making a recommendation that the officer’s bravery be recognised, and said it was unrealistic that he would perform CPR on Neill after the incident. Whether Austin should have provided first aid was examined during the inquiry, according to a Fairfax Media report.
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