THE family of Burnley PC Ian Terry said they were ‘bitterly disappointed’ that one of the officers involved in the fatal training drill will escape a misconduct charge because he is due to retire.

PC Terry, 32, was killed during a ‘cops and robbers’-style exercise, in Manchester, in June 2008.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle also slammed the decision not to charge the officer, known only as Sgt Eric, but the Ind-ependent Police Complaints Commission said there was ‘nothing’ it could do about his retirement.

Two other Greater Manches-ter Police officers - known only as PC Chris and PC Francis - now face imminent internal gross misconduct charges and could be sacked from the force.

But PC Terry’s family said they had ‘been assured on numerous occasions’ that all three officers would face disciplinary measures.

In a statement, they said: “It is particularly devastating to our family that Ian will not be granted any form of justice against the individual known as Eric. We feel that the length of time taken by the IPCC, CPS and GMP to investigate, and reach decisions in this case is profoundly unacceptable, and an unforgivable cruelty dealt to a bereaved family in need of closure on a tragic event.”

Last July, in a prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive, PC Francis and PC Chris were found guilty of breaching health and safety regulations, which led to PC Terry’s death. Sgt Eric was cleared of similar breaches.

PC Terry, a father-of-two, was shot with a Remington shotgun by PC Chris during an exercise at the former Sharp factory, in Newton Heath.

Mr Birtwistle said: “It’s not right at all. Just retiring from the force should not excuse him, or allow him to be excluded from facing the charges.”

GMP was fined £166,666, and ordered to pay £90,000 costs, following PC Terry’s death, after it admitted its firearms training procedures were ser-iously at fault.

James Dipple-Johnstone, IPCC Commissioner, said: “I agree the three officers have a case to answer for gross misc-onduct and they should face a hearing. One officer is now outside of the misconduct system, having chosen to retire. There is nothing the IPCC can do to stop the officer retiring. It is an unfortunate and disappointing result of the protracted coronial and judicial processes.”

No-one has ever faced criminal prosecution for PC Terry’s death.