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Liam Scorsese was shot to death by police in Brisbane, witness reveals why it was unnecessary

A witness who saw police fire at an outlaw motorcycle gang associate who yelled ‘go on, shoot me’ has told a court his death was ‘unnecessary’.  

Liam Scorsese was shot dead by police in February 2018 after refusing to surrender a knife taken from the Brisbane family home of his girlfriend Chireez Beytell. 

Jogger Chris Pennifold, who was 50 metres from the shooting, said he did not see a weapon in Mr Scorsese’s hand or the victim lunge toward police, an inquest into his death heard on Wednesday.

‘In my honest opinion, this was an absolutely unnecessary shooting, police officers were not under immediate threat,’ Mr Pennifold told the court.

Liam Scorsese was shot dead by police in February 2018 after refusing to surrender a knife taken from the Brisbane family home in of his girlfriend Chireez Beytell (pictured together)

Liam Scorsese was shot dead by police in February 2018 after refusing to surrender a knife taken from the Brisbane family home in of his girlfriend Chireez Beytell (pictured together)

Critically, a body-worn camera failed to activate and did not capture the crucial moments of the shooting, the inquest was told

Critically, a body-worn camera failed to activate and did not capture the crucial moments of the shooting, the inquest was told

‘He did not appear to be an immediate threat to life at all.’ 

A body-worn camera failed to activate and did not capture the crucial moments of the shooting, the inquest was told.

After Mr Scorsese was shot, a constable and a neighbour, who was a nurse, applied first aid until paramedics arrived and took him to hospital.

He died an hour later and an autopsy found the cause of death to be gunshot wounds to his chest and neck.

The inquest heard Mr Scorsese arrived at Ms Beytell’s family home in Wakerley to speak with her on the Sunday morning he was shot.

The inquest heard they began to fight before she went back inside and locked the door, causing Mr Scorsese to fly into an uncontrolled rage. 

Ms Beytell’s mother Madelene Erasmus sobbed hysterically as she recalled Mr Scorsese ‘became a different person’ after he was locked out of their home after a loud confrontation with his girlfriend.

‘His face was so angry – at that moment it was a completely different Liam,’ Mrs Erasmus told the hearing.

The inquest heard Mr Scorsese arrived at Ms Beytell's family home in Wakerley to speak with her on the Sunday morning he was shot

The inquest heard Mr Scorsese arrived at Ms Beytell’s family home in Wakerley to speak with her on the Sunday morning he was shot

Qld Police and Forensic Services officers attend the scene of a shooting in the suburb of Wakerley where Scorsese was shot by police in February 2018

Qld Police and Forensic Services officers attend the scene of a shooting in the suburb of Wakerley where Scorsese was shot by police in February 2018 

After Mr Scorsese (right) was shot, a constable and a neighbour, who was a nurse, applied first aid until paramedics arrived and took him to hospital

After Mr Scorsese (right) was shot, a constable and a neighbour, who was a nurse, applied first aid until paramedics arrived and took him to hospital

‘I closed the front door, Liam was screaming harder and harder, and I locked the security door.

‘Liam was banging on the door, he wanted her to come out. I told him “you need to leave”. I called my husband and then Liam started kicking the security doors – he was very, very angry.’

The family barricaded themselves inside and called police to force Mr Scorsese to leave.

‘If they (the police) want to come, they can come,’ Mr Scorsese reportedly told the family before stripping off his shirt and waiting on the mailbox.

Police arrived at the home moments later and shots rang out.

Detective Sergeant Dylan Brook who investigated the fatal shooting said Mr Scorsese was armed with a knife as he walked toward police.

Blood is splattered out the front of the house where Scorsese was shot dead by police in 2018

Blood is splattered out the front of the house where Scorsese was shot dead by police in 2018

Liam Scorsese was shot in February 2018, after refusing to surrender a knife taken from the family home of his girlfriend Chireez Beytell (pictured together)

Liam Scorsese was shot in February 2018, after refusing to surrender a knife taken from the family home of his girlfriend Chireez Beytell (pictured together)

The officers warned Mr Scorsese to drop the weapon and get on the ground, only for him to increase his pace. 

Mr Scorsese was hit in the chest with a Taser, but the 31-year-old ripped the wires from his body and continued to close in on police.

In fear for his life and the life his partner, a constable fired two shots bringing Mr Scorsese to the ground as he dropped the knife.

‘His actions were authorised, justified and legally defensible,’ Sgt Brook told the court.

‘Using the Taser first showed [the constable’s] reluctance to use lethal force against Mr Scorsese and it showed restraint on his behalf, particularly when faced with someone armed with an edged weapon or a knife.

‘He definitely attempted to use the minimum amount of force necessary to resolve the incident.’ 

The inquest was told Mr Scorsese had struggled with drug abuse and mental health issues in the months before the shooting and told family he had been hearing voices.

Coroner Terry Ryan will explore whether the police response was justified and their use of body cameras a unit failed to work.

He will also examine whether adequate mental health support was available to Mr Scorsese.

Mr Scorsese was hit in the chest with a Taser, but the 31-year-old ripped the wires from his body and continued to close in on police

Mr Scorsese was hit in the chest with a Taser, but the 31-year-old ripped the wires from his body and continued to close in on police 

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