Man shot dead in South Shields 'used the police to commit suicide', inquest told

The scene of James Carlo Wilson's death in South Shields.
The scene of James Carlo Wilson's death in South Shields.

A South Shields man shot dead by police wanted to go out in a "blaze of glory", an inquest has heard.

James Carlo Wilson’s father said he believed his son had deliberately put himself in the firing line so as to "commit suicide".

James Carlo Wilson lost his life in 2016.

James Carlo Wilson lost his life in 2016.

The shock revelation was made at today’s opening of an expected three-week inquest being held in Newcastle into Mr Wilson’s death.

Mr Wilson, 24, was shot by armed officers in Frenchman’s Way, Horsley Hill, South Shields, in the early hours of Tuesday, March 29, 2016.

He died in hospital in Newcastle three days later.

In a statement, his father Carl Wilson told the hearing: “I think that he wanted go out in a blaze of glory. That’s why he did it the way he did it.

"I think he wanted the police to kill him and he used the police to commit suicide."

The inquest heard police received a call at 12.57am on the Tuesday, informing them that Mr Wilson had a gun - described as being a black and 9mm - outside in Frenchman’s Way.

The call, which lasted for one minute and 40 seconds, led police to dispatch an unmarked car containing an unarmed officer for a scene drive past.

The officer confirmed there was a man present who had an object in his hand.

In a second call from the same mobile at 1.15am, to which police they remained connected, the caller said the man with the gun was James Wilson.

The caller said that he wouldn’t put the gun down, did not care if anyone else was hurt, and that he would shoot at police.

Two armed response police cars were dispatched, one of which recorded the incident on camera.

The inquest heard one vehicle stopped about 30 metres from where Mr Wilson was.

A dashboard recording appeared to show he had a handgun which he pointed several times at officers.

Police shouted for him to drop the weapon, with an officer firing an attenuating energy projectile (AEP).

It struck Mr Wilson, causing him to stagger but not drop the gun.

Five seconds later, a second firearms officer fired a round from a rifle which struck Mr Wilson in the chest.

Both policemen gave emergency first aid before Mr Wilson was rushed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

Giving evidence, Mr Wilson’s childhood friend, Sean McLellan, said they spent Monday, March 28, a bank holiday, drinking together from breakfast time.

They had a pint in a pub and then bought three cases, each containing 12 bottles of beer, from a supermarket, returning later for a fourth.

The pair heading first to a park to drink them and then to the home Mr Wilson shared with his mum Tracy Todd, in Frenchman’s Way.

In between times, they twice visited the home of Mr Wilson’s former girlfriend, who lived in the same street.

The court Mr Wilson and his ex-partner had remained close but that he left the house after the first visit "annoyed".

Mr McLellan said that while at his mum’s house, Mr Wilson had thrown him an object which he caught and was shocked to find was a gun.

He told the inquest: “It had a long barrel, like those in an old war film, it looked like an old German gun.

“I threw it back to him, I’m sure I said, ‘what are you doing with that?’

“It was really out of character for him. He was always against violence and stuff.”

Mr McLennan said Mr Wilson hated his father, who he had had only limited contact with from birth.

He said both he and Mr Wilson drank all the beers they had bought, with his friend possibly consuming more than he did.

He put Mr Wilson to bed at about 11pm, which was the last time he saw him.

However they did later speak briefly by phone when Mr Wilson asked Mr McLellan to accompany him to his former girlfriend’s home.

The inquest, which is being heard before a jury, was also told that Mr Wilson had previously self-harmed.

Once, he was found on cliff top, and on two other occasions had inflicted injuries to his forearms.

The inquest continues.