Court told de Menezes picture manipulated

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LONDON, Oct 18 (Reuters) A photo produced by police to show the similarity between an innocent Brazilian shot dead by armed officers and a London bomb plotter was dishonestly manipulated, a court was told.

Jean Charles De Menezes was shot seven times in the head on an underground train in London in July 2005 by officers who had wrongly identified him as one of four men who had tried to attack the capital's transport system the day before.

The composite picture showed half of Menezes' face and half that of Hussein Osman, one of four men jailed earlier this year for plotting the unsuccessful attacks.

Prosecuting lawyer Clare Montgomery yesterday told a jury at London's Old Bailey court that the photo had been altered either by stretching or resizing.

The composite picture was shown to jurors earlier this month to illustrate the difficulties officers would have had in distinguishing the two men.

Forensics consultant Michael George showed the jury an alternative composite showing different skin tones on each face and with the mouths and noses unaligned.

''A serious allegation has been made that a picture has been manipulated so as to mislead,'' said trial judge Justice Richard Henriques.

Prosecutors have described the shooting as a ''shocking and catastrophic error''.

No individual police officer is being prosecuted but the London police force as a whole has been charged with breaking health and safety laws over the killing. It denies the charge.

The trial continues.

Reuters AE DB0924

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