The family members of a man shot dead by police in Yorkshire broke down at his inquest on Tuesday as they spoke of their devastation at his loss.
Yassar Yaqub, 28, was a passenger in an Audi A4 which was surrounded by unmarked police cars at junction 24 of the M62 in Huddersfield on 2 January 2017.
The inquest at Leeds crown court heard that an armed officer known as B39 leaned out of his car window and fired three shots.
A loaded pistol was found in the footwell under the front passenger seat. A silencer and further ammunition were found in the glovebox.
The jury at the inquest was told four unmarked police cars had been “tracking” Yaqub and his associates before they travelled from Bradford to Huddersfield. Mohsin Amin was driving the Audi A4. Behind them was a VW Scirocco carrying two other men, Rexhino Arapaj and David Butlin.
As the two cars left the M62 four police cars boxed them in. Then B39 lowered the front offside window, leant out of it and fired the shots with his police-issued firearm.
The inquest heard officer B39 was about 1.5 metres away from Yaqub when he shot him, with two of the bullets hitting him in the chest and causing “catastrophic blood loss”.
The judge said: “It will not surprise you to learn that the event of stopping the Audi and Volkswagen did not just happen out of the blue. You will hear the police had been interested for some time in Mr Yakub before 2 January 2017.”
The recorder of Leeds, Judge Guy Kearl, told the jury that what was then said and exactly what actions were taken by the occupants of the cars are matters “at the heart of this inquest”.
Family members paid tribute to Yaqub in court.
Yaqub’s sister, Aneela Kauser, fought back tears as she said her brother was kind-hearted and had so much love to give.
“Life without Yassar has been extremely difficult. I have felt lost, lonely and anxious,” she said.
Yakub’s father, Mohammed Yaqub, broke down when he paid tribute to his son in court
“He was well respected in the community and never without employment. It was not his time to go and we hope lessons are learned from our loss so other families never have to share our heartbreak.”
A statement was read out in court from Yaqub’s partner, Zoe Summers, the mother of his two children, who were aged six months and 11 years when he died. She said he was a good father and “a fun and loving dad”.
“I cannot explain the pain we live with every single day. It’s unbearable. It’s like a horrible nightmare stuck on repeat,” said Summers.
A statement from Yaqub’s daughter, Yasmin Summers, read out in court said: “Since losing my dad I have felt anger, sadness, every emotion you can think of. Now all I have left are memories and pictures, which I will hold on to for ever.”
The inquest continues. It is expected to last eight weeks.