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Family of man shot dead by police in Collier Row say it was obvious he was suffering from mental health problems

PUBLISHED: 20:13 19 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:52 20 June 2018

Melissa Cottier, with her children. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

Melissa Cottier, with her children. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

Ellie Hoskins

The family of the man who was shot dead by police in Collier Row have said that their lives have been torn apart since the night he was killed.

Richard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie HoskinsRichard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

Melissa Cottier was with father of three Richard Cottier for 24 years, and says the day before he was killed by police it was his son’s 13th birthday.

Melissa and their three children had been celebrating with other family on April 8, and Melissa said that Richard had locked himself away and decided not to spend any time with the family.

She said this was out of the ordinary because he loved his three children, but it was obvious that he had been suffering with his mental health for some time.

Richard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie HoskinsRichard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

He had lost his stepfather six weeks before and had been out of work for 10 months.

Richard, who was a lead miner and had worked on projects such as the eurotunnel, then woke up his children at around 3.30am, and told them not to look out of the window.

He woke up Melissa and told her he had rang the police and that he had told them that they had to come and shoot him or he was going to shoot them.

Melissa Cottier. Photo: Ellie HoskinsMelissa Cottier. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

She said: “He was crying out for help.”

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that Melissa found out that he had told police he had overdosed, when she was told by an IOPC officer.

Melissa said that she panicked and didn’t know what to do. She rang 999 and told them that he had an imitation gun and was threatening to kill himself.

Melissa Cottier, with her children. Photo: Ellie HoskinsMelissa Cottier, with her children. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

Melissa took the two children who were still living at home, and put them in her car parked outside.

She said Richard took £10 and said he was going to the garage to get some cigarettes. He walked out of the house with an air rifle.

While he was out, police arrived and Melissa said that an officer drove her and her children up the road to Birdfarm Road out of sight of what was happening.

Richard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie HoskinsRichard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

A couple of hours later she was taken to Romford police station and separated from her children.

At 10.45 the next morning, she was told by an IOPC officer that Richard had been shot dead. She told the Recorder she fell to the floor and screamed.

She said she was then left to tell her children what had happened, saying it was the “hardest thing I have ever done”.

Richard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie HoskinsRichard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

Speaking about how her life has been since that night she said: “My life has been torn apart.

“I feel like I’ve had everything taken away from me.

“He was a loving father, he loved his children, and he was a big kid just like them.”

Richard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie HoskinsRichard Cottier who was shot dead by police in Collier Row. Photo: Ellie Hoskins

The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) is currently investigating the circumstances leading up to Richard’s death.

The 41-year-old was shot by two MPS firearms officers at a petrol station in Collier Row Road at about 4.45am on April 9.

Initial information indicates that officers responded when Mr Cottier called saying he had taken an overdose and had a gun.

Mr Cottier was located at the Esso petrol station and officers fired two shots. He died at the scene.

Investigators returned to the area in the following days to carry out further inquiries including recovering CCTV as well as undertaking house-to-house inquiries.

A post-mortem examination carried out on Thursday, April 12 in the presence of an IOPC investigator found Mr Cottier died of gunshot injuries.

A ballistics expert has confirmed that the weapon carried by Mr Cottier was a modified air rifle.

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