A POLICEMAN yesterday became the first British officer to be charged

with murder after an unarmed suspect was shot dead during a routine


Constable Patrick Hodgson, 48, was charged with the murder of Mr David

Ewin, 38, a chauffeur. He died after the shooting in south-west London

earlier this year.

It is the first time an officer has been charged with murder following

an investigation by the Police Complaints Authority and the only case of

its kind in living memory.

Mr Hodgson, who was based at London's Old Street police station, was

bailed to appear before Bow Street Magistrates on November 28.

The decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to bring charges follows

an investigation by Scotland Yard's complaints investigation bureau, led

by Detective Superintendent Aidan Thorne and supervised by the PCA. A

report was submitted to the CPS in early July.

Mr Ewin was shot twice in the chest after he was seen acting

suspiciously in a stolen Toyota with another man outside an off-licence

in Barnes, south-west London, on February 28. Mr Hodgson was one of

three officers in an armed response unit vehicle on routine patrol which

was involved in the incident.

Mr Ewin, of Roehampton, south-west London, died at the Royal London

Hospital 16 days later. A former celebrity chauffeur, his clients had

included pop stars including Annie Lennox and Michael Hutchence.

The PCA has records of four officers who have faced manslaughter

charges in the past decade. Three officers were cleared of the

manslaughter of illegal immigrant Joy Gardner in Hornsey, north London,

earlier this year.

A West Midlands police officer was found not guilty of manslaughter in

1985 after five-year-old John Shorthouse was accidentally killed while

hiding under bedclothes as police searched for his father.

As is usual for an officer facing charges, the Police Federation will

provide Mr Hodgson with legal assistance.