BBC: Jean Charles de Menezes' death 'tore my soul away', mother says
By Luis Barrucho BBC Brasil 21 July 2015
Maria de Menezes said someone should be held responsible for her son's death
Ten years ago Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead at a London Tube station by police who mistook him for a terror suspect. Speaking exclusively to the BBC, his mother, Maria de Menezes, says the killing "tore my soul away".
The day before Jean Charles de Menezes returned to London from Brazil in 2005, the 27-year-old had told his mother he did not want to go.
"He spent a couple of months here with us. He did not want to go back. I did not want him to go back. It was the last time I saw my son."
He was followed to Stockwell station, pinned down and shot seven times in the head on 22 July.
The Metropolitan Police officers responsible had thought they were trailing Hussain Osman, a suspect for the previous day's failed bombing attempts on the London transport network.
Maria tells the BBC in Gonzaga: "Two days before he died, I dreamt about him.
"I was lying on my bed and he came towards me all of a sudden, but didn't say a word. And I did not have time to tell him anything either.
"When I woke up, I told my husband 'something very bad is happening to Jean'.
"I never thought I would see myself burying my son because this goes against the natural order of life. It still causes too much pain."
Such is that pain that she even avoids looking at pictures of her son and has hidden the few remaining ones she has.
Jean Charles had been working as an electrician in London, where he arrived in 2002 on a student visa.
His cousin, Alex Pereira, says Jean Charles convinced him to go to England in search of a better future.
"We worked more than 15 hours a day non-stop. We were not tourists and didn't have much time for leisure.
"We didn't want to live in Britain forever, but only to earn enough money to go back to Brazil and have a decent life."
The Crown Prosecution Service decided that no police officers should be prosecuted over Jean Charles's killing.
While it said the death could have been avoided, and the Metropolitan Police was fined £175,000 for breaching health and safety laws, the CPS said it had insufficient evidence for a better than 50% chance of conviction.
A subsequent inquest jury returned an open verdict on the cause of death after being told by the coroner it could not conclude that Jean Charles had been unlawfully killed.
Alex, who returned to Brazil in 2012 after seven years in London, still struggles to understand why no-one has been prosecuted.
"Imagine you live a normal life doing nothing wrong and all of sudden you are shot in the head by someone who should be there to protect you," he says.
"The British police are considered to be the best in the world. How could it have happened?
"I think they deserve a very severe punishment."
What happened to Jean Charles de Menezes?
Two weeks after the 7/7 London bombings, the capital's transport network is targeted again, but the bombers' devices fail to explode
A manhunt is launched for four men suspected of trying to carry out the attack
Police find an address in Scotia Road, Tulse Hill, written on a gym membership in one of the unexploded bags used by the bombers
Jean Charles, who lived in one of the flats at Scotia Road, is wrongly identified by police as Hussain Osman
He is shot dead on 22 July by police at Stockwell Tube station
Four men, including Osman, are later convicted over the botched bombing attempt
For more about Jean Charles de Menezes click here.
Jean Charles's family has taken a case to the European Court of Human Rights in an attempt to see someone prosecuted.
Relatives see it as the final opportunity to hold the British state to account and to prosecute the police officers involved.
"They (police officers) lied so much," Maria says.
"Why has no-one been punished so far? I think when one makes a mistake, they should be held responsible for it."
But nothing will bring back her beloved son.
The grave in Gonzaga, Brazil, where Jean Charles is buried
"I remember him in every way," she says. "I remember him growing, at school, smiling at me, saying he was ok.
"I can never forget my son, from the day he was born until I saw him being buried.
"Do you think I still have a future," she asks. "They tore my soul away from me."
The Menezes family still lives in the same three-bedroom house in a rural part of Brazil, near Gonzaga.
He is fondly recalled by those who knew him.
"Everywhere I go, when people find out where I am from, I am always asked the very same question: 'Are you from the city of Jean Charles?'," says former maths teacher Sandra Rabelo.
"He was a brilliant student. We had some sort of a connection.
"He was provocative; never let me teach my classes without interrupting me and asking a wide range of different questions.
"He thought I was his private teacher.
"I was a bit of a mother to him. That is why when he died, I felt like I lost my own son."
Jean Charles de Menezes family in European court challenge
10 June 2015