ONE of the men who was inside the car when Anthony Grainger was shot dead in Culcheth has denied the group were planning an armed robbery.

David Totton, who had known Mr Grainger since they were both 10 years old, was giving evidence during an inquiry at Liverpool Crown Court into the circumstances surrounding the 36-year-old's death.

Mr Grainger, from Bolton, was shot by a Greater Manchester Police firearms officer – known as Q9 – in a pre-planned operation on March 3, 2012.

Prior to the shooting, Mr Totton had visited the car park in Culcheth just days earlier on February 29 and March 1.

When questioned on why he had visited the area, Mr Totton said they were looking for someone who owed a 'couple of grand' to Mr Grainger over a car. 

Mr Totton also revealed he knew that the cars he had been travelling in were stolen so he would carry a balaclava and gloves.

He told the inquest: "If we were going to be chased, or anything like that, I would use my balaclava so I wouldn't be recognised."

Mr Totton was also asked questions on the moments leading up to Mr Grainger's death - in particular when an unmarked police car pulled into the car park blocking them in.

He said: "I have heard a bang, a loud bang. 

"And I remember feeling glass. Those were shards of glass hitting my face.

“At that time I didn’t know what it was but I thought it could have been a bullet.

“I thought it was the shot of a gun. I realised the car is not going anywhere.

“We were blocked in. I go to get out of the car.

“I got out of the car and straight away hear a lot of shouting and screaming.”

When asked if he heard anything from outside the car, he replied 'not at that time, no'.

He told the inquiry he was 'clearly not' planning to carry out an armed robbery at the time as 'you'd have to be armed to commit an armed robbery'.

Joseph Travers, who was also in the stolen Audi, had not turned up to the inquiry despite being ordered to do so.

The inquiry continues.