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A policeman who gunned down a barrister was accused of using song lyrics as a prank in evidence he gave at an inquest into the man's death.

The sniper, who is known only as Alpha Zulu 8 was said to have secretly referred to hits from Barbara Streisand, Duran Duran and the Backstreet Boys as the dead man's grieving family listened to him in court.

Their son, Mark Saunders, 32, was shot by the police marksman during a seige in Chelsea, London on May 6, 2008.

A drunk Saunders took potshots at neighbours from his £2.2m home, then came under a hail of bullets from seven police marksman, one of whom, AZ8, hit him in the head.

The policeman's prank was uncovered after senior officers examined transcripts of his two-hour testimony after the inquest, in which a jury found the shooting to be lawful.

AZ8 told Westminster Coroner's Court: ''I eased off the trigger. As it came down again it crossed my line and let off the first round. It just got past that point of no return." It is believed to be a reference to Duran Duran's Point of No Return.

Describing how he and another marksman challenged Saunders, AZ8 said: ''As I play it back in my mind, which is not something I do all the time, but in quiet moments, I feel 'is there any other way?'.'' This is thought to refer to the Backstreet Boys song Is There Any Other Way and Chris de Burgh's Quiet Moments.

He also used the phrase "enough is enough" from Barbra Streisand's (pictured) No More Tears, and "first time", a 1988 number one hit for Robin Beck.

The cop has been removed from firearms duties but will keep his position in the elite CO19 unit while the Independent Police Complaints Commission investigates the claims.

Met Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, is said to be furious over the policeman's behaviour.

The barrister’s mother Rosemary, from Alderley Edge, Cheshire, told the Daily Mail: "If it’s all such a game, was it a game on May 6? If this man can approach the inquest with such an attitude, then it makes you wonder about how he approaches shooting his gun to kill a man."

 


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