Portbury Hundred shooting: Spencer Ashworth lawfully killed, jury says

portbury hundred shooting spencer ashworth lawfully killed jury says - Portbury Hundred shooting: Spencer Ashworth lawfully killed, jury saysImage copyright PA/BBC
Image caption Officers shot Mr Ashworth after stopping his car near junction 19 of the M5 on 27 September 2017

A man shot dead by police after firing an air pistol at an officer was lawfully killed, a jury has found.

Spencer Ashworth, 29, was shot by firearms officers attending reports of a gunman firing from a car on the M5.

When he pulled over on the A369 Portbury Hundred near Bristol, he fired an air pistol at police who returned 15 rounds, killing him at the scene.

After an inquest, senior coroner for Avon, Maria Voisin, offered her condolences to Mr Ashworth’s family.

During the inquest, jurors were played recordings of 999 calls made to police as Mr Ashworth drove down the M5 on September 27 2017, and bodycam footage from police officers.

‘Shoot it out’

Mr Ashworth’s mother, Yvonne Maunder, said he had become “insular” in his late teenage years, and would play computer games alone in his bedroom.

Originally from the Southampton area, Mr Ashworth left the family home aged 22, and and kept in touch with his mother through email and the occasional phone call.

In one email, he wrote about his new “James Bond air pistol,” and described how he wanted to go to California “before I have to shoot it out with the police”.

Jurors heard Mr Ashworth, who was awaiting two prosecutions, had warning markers on his Police National Computer record for violence, mental health and suicide.

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