20 February 2008


Simon Murden was 26 years old. He came from a good family and grew up in Beverley, East Yorkshire where I went to school. It seems that he had had coping problems, sometimes got depressed and sometimes dabbled in drugs including cannabis - which may well have affected his general psychological wellbeing. Simon was white, middle class and from Yorkshire - not London - and maybe these are the reasons most of you out there will never have heard of him or the way in which armed police shot him dead on the night of March 22nd 2005 following a road traffic accident on the A63 just west of Hull.

Today his mother, Dorothy Murden spoke at the inquest into her son's death which is currently being staged in Hull. Tragically on the weekend of Simon's death, Dorothy was in South Wales scattering her parents' ashes on the beach at Tenby. It was where they had walked as lovers between the wars. Before travelling to South Wales, Simon had hugged her and her last words to this vulnerable son were "I love you". She has one surviving son called Jonathan.

Dorothy said - "It was while the train pulled into the station at Carmarthen, Jonathan rang me to tell me Simon had been shot. I could not believe it, that my lovely boy, so innocent and gentle, could have had that happen. I sat in the most dreadful numbness with all the people around me talking and getting on with their lives."

It appears that after the accident, Simon walked along the edge of the dual carriageway holding a ceremonial sword he had stupidly brought from home. He didn't threaten anyone with it but a passing member of the public phoned Humberside police to say they had seen a pedestrian walking along the road with a weapon - possibly a sub-machine gun or rifle. An armed response unit was activated and soon after Simon was shot dead in cold blood - probably by an over-eager, trigger happy cop.

It is such a tragedy. Simon seemed to be turning the corner in his troubled life and was campaigning to raise money for relief work in Africa... but bang, bang they shot him down. Rest in peace Simon Murden and may your family learn to look forward to happier days when they can, however briefly, sometimes forget the horror of your untimely and unlawful killing at the hands of people who are there to protect the public - not to assassinate us.


  1. I didn't remember it until you mentioned the sword thing.... then I did.

    I'm not sure wandering down a dual carriageway, clutching a sword, represents the turning of the troubled corner that was mentioned, but it certainly doesn't warrant being shot down either.

    I feel for the family, it's a tragic thing to lose someone and I can't imagine the mother's anguish at the situation that she found herself in at the time, or indeed since for that matter.


  2. This sounds pretty wretched all the way around. I feel the worst for his mother.

  3. Sounds rather similar to the Jean Charles de Menezes scenario. Tragic, stupid and pointless.

  4. Anonymous3:21 pm

    I am sure that the police will get out of it somehow, They always seem to do. SA` couple of cases I can think of in my country were a couple of cops shooting an unarmed french tourist dead on a beach in Sydney and down here this bloke they had in custody was shot about 8 times in a flat by two cops who said it was in self defence when the fellow was unarmed. The cops got away with it both times

  5. Thanks for bringing that one to my attention, YP. I'll certainly be looking for more info on this one.

  6. How can this happen? Poor parents. I am sure they will never get over it. To loose a child is a parent's worst nightmare but in such stupid circumstances.

  7. Anonymous6:47 pm

    If ever there was a lesson to avoid cannabis, this is it. It can clearly change you from a loving son to a sword-wielding maniac overnight.
    Hey, if someone is threatening the public with a lethal weapon you do what you gotta do.
    If they'd let him go, the same cats that are dissing the cops for shooting this scum-sucker would be dissing them for letting him decapitate someone.

  8. Anonymous6:55 pm

    Whoever wrote that last comment is clearly a "scum-sucker" themselves.
    We do not know all of the details of this case. I can sympathize with the Police to a degree, as it must be a fraught and confusing situation if someone is behaving unusually while carrying a sword.
    However, surely there was some way to disarm him or subdue him without lethal force? What about the new tazers?
    With respect to drugs, the father has since admitted that he was "in a bad way" with them and that he had said that he was going to "kill the first person" he saw. Why didn't someone help his depression properly?

  9. Anonymous6:59 pm

    What a disgrace the Police are. I regularly drive at high-speeds the wrong way down the motorway while high on drugs, then proceed to attack passers-by with swords.
    How can they possibly shoot a man for this? Breaking traffic regulations, chopping people's heads off and massive drug abuse is a Great British tradition. What are thy going to do next? Ban fish and chips?

  10. mmn remember this, local news was full of the gory details, bloke lost the plot! wrong way down dual carriageway waving sword and not backing down? asking for trouble in this 'police state'.


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