Sky News cameraman was shot in Egypt after his flak jacket was confiscated | Media | The Guardian
Mick Deane was killed by a sniper in August 2013 after his crew’s bulletproof vests were seized at Cairo airport, colleague tells coroner’s court

A veteran Sky News cameraman was shot dead in Egypt after the flak jacket that could have saved him was confiscated.

Mick Deane, 61, was hit during a raid on activists camped in the Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in Cairo, in August 2013.

Thousands of supporters of the ousted President Mohamed Morsi had staged a six-week sit-in that was being dispersed by government forces when Deane was killed.

His colleague Craig Summers, 56, who was standing next to him when he was shot, told Southwark coroner’s court that he believes Mr Deane was singled out deliberately.

He said: “I think he was targeted but I don’t know why, he was no threat anybody at all.

“I don’t know why they shot him, the only other people around were some women sitting on the floor reading the Qur’an, there was nobody standing next to us.

“Somebody looked through a scope or down the end of a rifle at shot at us, there was no shooting at all before or after he was shot.

“I have no idea where the shot might have come from, I didn’t hear the shot being fired, the first I knew about it was when Mr Deane turned to me and said ‘I’ve been shot’ and I could see blood coming through his shirt just under the left nipple.”

Summers, Sky’s broadcast security operations manager at the time, told the court that the crew had all their safety equipment confiscated from them at Cairo airport except for their helmets.

The equipment included bulletproof vests which are designed to withstand a sniper’s bullet.

They had been advised by Muslim Brotherhood contacts on the ground that wearing the helmets would make them a target for government snipers, Summers said.

He also told the court of the Sky crew’s desperate attempts to save Deane in the chaotic environment.

Summers said: “I grabbed hold of him and dragged him to the safety of an alleyway and applied a field dressing to his wound.

“The field hospital was 30 or 40 paces away and I shouted to the others that he had been shot and we got him onto a stretcher and into the field hospital.

“His chest was drained as the doctors thought he had internal damage and that perhaps a lung had collapsed.

“When we finally got him into an ambulance there was a dead person in it, he was still alive at that point and we were talking to him and trying to keep him awake.”

When they arrived at Nasr City Hospital, Deane was immediately rushed into resuscitation but doctors were unable to save him.

No other member of the Sky News team was hurt in the incident although several other journalists from across the world were shot or injured on the day.

Coroner Lorna Tagliavini concluded that despite the cause of death being a single gunshot wound to the chest she felt unable to reach a conclusion of unlawful killing.

She said: “To return a conclusion of unlawful killing I have to be sure that all the criminal elements of manslaughter or murder are met.

“I accept his cause of death as a gunshot wound to the chest and I also accept that he was not wearing any protective equipment at the time of his death.

“I thank Mr Summers very much for coming along today to recall what must have been a very painful experience.

“It is unknown where the shot came from and what the motive for firing the shot was.

“Whilst it appears he was singled out, I cannot rule out entirely that the bullet was either a wayward shot that might have been aimed at another target or was intended to frighten Mr Deane.

“I therefore record a short narrative verdict: Mr Deane was shot and fatally wounded while carrying out his employment duties as a cameraman in Cairo.

“I would like to place on record my personal condolences to the friends and family of Mr Deane.”

Deane, who was married with two sons, worked for Sky for 15 years based mainly in Jerusalem and Washington DC and had survived cancer.

John Ryley, head of Sky News, said: “Mick was a valued colleague and friend to many of us at Sky News. Our thoughts are with his family today. I would like to pay tribute to Mick’s courage and skill as a cameraman. He was one of those brave broadcasters prepared to work in dangerous parts of the world in order to bring us the news.”

David Cameron paid tribute to Deane at the time of his death, saying: “I am saddened to hear of the death of cameraman Mick Deane, covering Egyptian violence. My thoughts are with his family and Sky News team.”

Another journalist, Habiba Ahmed Abd Elaziz, 26, a reporter for the United Arab Emirates-based Xpress newspaper, was also killed in the square.

Reports at the time suggested that as many as six journalists may have been killed or injured in the violence in Egypt on that day.