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James Ashley was a 39-year-old man who was shot dead by armed police while unarmed and naked, during a raid on his flat in St LeonardsEast SussexUnited Kingdom, on 15 January 1998. Ashley and several of the apartment's other residents were suspected of involvement in large-scale drug deals. Having previously served two years on a charge of manslaughter, Ashley had been involved in a pubroom stabbing several months earlier, although only in so much as a friend of his attacked someone else before Ashley pulled him away. A search of the premises later turned up a small amount of cannabis.

Ashley had been in bed with his girlfriend at the time of the raid, and had got out of bed to investigate noises coming from the flat. As he moved towards the door of his darkened bedroom an armed police officer stepped into the room. Seeing Ashley approaching and having been briefed that the occupants of the flat could be armed and dangerous, the officer reacted by firing his weapon at Ashley.

At a subsequent press conference, the Chief Constable of Sussex Police, Paul Whitehouse, claimed that James Ashley had been wanted for murder but this was not correct.

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