In March 1987 three men, Winston Silcott, Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip were convicted of the murder of PC Blakelock After the trial it was revealed that Winston Silcott had, in the meantime, been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the earlier murder of another man, Tony Smith. On 25 November 1991 the Court of Appeal quashed the convictions amid allegations of fabrication of evidence. Mark Braithwaite and Engin Raghip were released. Winston Silcott remained in prison for the murder of Smith, being released on licence in 2003 after serving eighteen years. In 1994 two of the investigating detectives stood trial, and were acquitted of fabricating evidence. In 2003, police announced that new evidence had come to light. Subsequently the garden of a house in Tottenham was searched with an undisclosed item being found. In 2004 PC Blakelock’s overalls were retrieved from Scotland Yard’s Crime Museum for a new forensics examination, after exhaustive inquires except after several years it turns out he didn’t do it. I am not sure whether to be more depressed by our police service’s dishonesty or incompetence. I hope to live long enough to read the papers in the year 2040 when we will hear similar statements about Ian Tomlinson.
The cops got away with murder. They finally admitted it. The police behaviour that murdered Blair Peach helped fuel the revolt and riots of the early 1980s. People had had enough. The SUS laws – how appropriate that a film version of Barrie Keefe’s 1979 play Sus has just been made into a searing film – were a major reason behind the riots.
The death of Ian Tomlinson suggests unequivocally that the Met is at least as bad as it was in 1979. At least Blair Peach was actually a protester … poor Ian was just trying to get home.
The lack of a prosecution for the death of Blair Peach is perfectly mirrored in the continued dithering of the CPS in the Ian Tomlinsoncase. The rioters who put the windows in at the RBS branch at the G20 went to jail months ago … the copper who killed Ian is suspended on full-pay, and may never even appear in court.
The attempted cover-up by the Met with regard to the death of Ian Tomlinson is perhaps even more worrying than the obsfucation that Cass met in investigating Blair Peach’s death … the misleading press release, the faulty cause of death, the many untruths fed to Ian’s family and the media must have been sanctioned at a senior level.
The top brass can tell us how much they’ve changed until they’re blue in the face … but our experience on the streets and in the kettle speaks the truth.
Despite what police said, many under oath, Jean Charles de Menezes did not jump the barrier at Stockwell tube and run to the train, the police did not identify themselves as armed police, and de Menezes did not move towards them.
What other conclusion can we draw, other than such claims were part of an attempt to evade responsibility for killing someone? And how many police were convicted of any wrongdoing?
We were told Ian Tomlinson had ‘no contact’ with police before he collapsed, and had died of a heart attack. And, like Jean Charles de Menezes , that the crucial CCTV cameras weren’t working.
And we can guess from the casual demeanour of the attack on Tomlinson that it was commonplace at the G20. How many officers have – as is their duty – handed themselves in or reported fellow officers for excessive force that day? How many heads do we think will roll for it? The same as for de Menezes and Blair Peach.