Met officer who investigated shooting of woman ‘saw no evidence of police collusion’

By Staff

A former senior detective who investigated the shooting of a woman outside a police station nearly 21 years ago saw no evidence of collusion between officers and the gunmen, an inquest has heard.

Sabina Rizvi, 25, was killed in the early hours of March 20, 2003, as she drove away from Bexleyheath police station in South East London.

In 2004, Paul Asbury, then aged 22, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years after being convicted of her murder and the attempted murder of her boyfriend, Mark Williams, who was a passenger in the same car.

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An inquest into Ms Rizvi’s death at the Old Bailey is looking into whether officers at Bexleyheath police station were implicated in what happened.

On Thursday, Cathryn McGahey KC, counsel to the inquest, asked Lee Catling, a former detective chief inspector who led the investigation into Asbury and two unknown gunmen, if he saw any evidence of police officers assisting them.

Mr Catling replied: “No.”

He was also asked if mobile phones belonging to the officers showed anything suspicious.

Mr Catling said: “No.”

The witness told the court he seen no evidence that police officers let slip to Asbury the whereabouts of Mr Williams while he was at the station.

In March 2003, Ms Rizvi bought an Audi TT with £15,000 given by her mother and went to the police to check it was not stolen.

She went with Mr Williams to Peckham police station on March 13 and was told the vehicle was not listed as stolen.

Later the same day, Asbury phoned Bexleyheath police station and said his Audi had been carjacked.

On March 16 2003, he called then detective sergeant Robert Florio, who was in charge of the carjacking investigation, and said the girlfriend of someone called “Bucky” a nickname for Mr Williams had his car, jurors were told.

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Mr Florio asked Ms Rizvi to come to Bexleyheath police station on March 19 with the documents for the Audi, the inquest heard.

She told police she had paid Asbury for the Audi and agreed to a search of the vehicle. She called Mr Williams and he drove the car to the police station, arriving at about 10.25pm.

Police arrested Mr Williams after he arrived as he matched the description Asbury had given of one of the car thieves.

Mr Williams was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was arrested and told police this was because he “moved in certain circles” in south London.

Officers took it away from him and realised from its markings that it was a Metropolitan Police vest.

Interviewed by police in the early hours of March 20, Mr Williams denied having anything to do with the carjacking and said he was wearing the vest because he was a friend of someone who was wanted for murder and was “afraid of reprisals from associates of the murder victim”.

Minutes after leaving the police station, at 2.20am, the shooting occurred.

The inquest continues.

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