THE police force at the centre of the shooting of an unarmed man in Culcheth have denied a 'cover-up' as the public inquiry draws to a close.

Judge Thomas Teague QC must now consider his findings after three months of evidence surrounding the death of Anthony Grainger in a car park off Jackson Avenue on March 3, 2012.

The 36-year-old convicted criminal was shot dead while inside a stolen car by a firearms officer from Greater Manchester Police.

Mr Grainger had been under surveillance as part of an investigation into a gang of Salford men suspected of committing armed robberies across the north west.

On behalf of Mr Grainger's family, Leslie Thomas QC outlined in her closing submissions how 'the evidence in this case has revealed serious failings from top to bottom in the operation that led to Anthony's death'.

She said: "Anthony's killing was an absolute devastating situation for his family. 

"His shooting and its aftermath has literally torn their worlds apart. 

"Human tragedy is at the heart of this inquiry and we repeat what was said in the opening by Mrs Schofield, and I quote 'Anthony was a committed family man, he was the most loving and caring person and was made to be a dad. 

"He adored his kids. He was a good son, brother and father.

"His children have been left without a father who they were both very close to. 

"I cannot imagine the pain that they will have had to go through. 

"If Anthony was doing wrong, he should have been arrested and sent to court.

"He did not deserve to be shot. I miss him dearly'."

But Anne Whyte QC, who was speaking on behalf of the force, said while mistakes have been made, there was no 'cover-up' or 'culture of secrecy'.

She said: "No commander or firearms officer goes to work planning or wishing to injure or kill. 

"The purpose of their job is to protect injury and death. 

"The pressures on such officers are immense. 

"We are profoundly conscious of the permanent loss to Mr Grainger's family and his partner and of the fact that notwithstanding the detailed and lengthy nature of this inquiry, some questions remain unanswered.

"That is possibly an undesirable but obvious by-product when a complex series of events and judgments involving significant numbers of individuals is scrutinised microscopically years after the event."

The public inquiry has heard from 80 witnesses since hearings began in January.

It is not known when Judge Teague will publish his report.