Blakelock murder charges ruled out: The long inquiry into PC's murder during the Broadwater Farm riots has drawn a blank. James Cusick reports

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The Independent Online
THE LONG inquiry into who killed PC Keith Blakelock, hacked to death during the Broadwater Farm estate riots in 1985, resulted yesterday in the Crown Prosecution Service announcing that no one will be charged with the murder.

The CPS said in a statement that, despite a two-and-a-half-year investigation by the Metropolitan Police, there was insufficient evidence to justify criminal proceedings. The only ray of hope for those campaigners who believe that justice will not be done until charges are brought, was an additional statement from the CPS which said 'if further evidence came to light' the decision would be reviewed.

On 6 October 1985, PC Blakelock, 40, a beat officer in Tottenham, north London, was killed during street riots prompted by the death of Cynthia Jarrett. She died from a heart attack after a police raid on her home.

In the riots that followed, PC Blakelock was attacked with machetes, knives and swords. He died with 42 wounds. Evidence suggested that 200 people had witnessed his death.

In the original investigation, 369 people were arrested. Three people were later convicted of the murder and jailed for life.

In 1991, after a new investigation, the Court of Appeal cleared Winston Silcott, Engin Raghip and Mark Braithwaite. Silcott, once a greengrocer on the estate, remains in prison where he is serving a life sentence for another murder. Forty others served sentences ranging from one to six years.

Leaks that the re-investigation had concluded that up to a dozen people would be charged - after the release of the inquiry's papers to the CPS - proved to be false.

When the inquiry team headed by Commander Perry Nove handed over its findings to the CPS three months ago, he said: 'I have always said that up to a dozen people were directly involved in the attack on Constable Blakelock. I am confident of the identification of the core group.'

The CPS's timing of the no-prosecution announcement was criticised as 'insensitive' by the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Mike Bennett. He said the decision was 'disappointing but not surprising'.

Mr Bennett said: 'We're very disappointed that the most brutal killing of a police officer on mainland England will remain unsolved and the people who murdered Keith Blakelock will escape justice.

'I would like to think that people still have a conscience and that they would use this to come forward and bring to justice the brutal murderers,' he said.

The announcement comes in a week when a case concerning two senior police officers involved in the original investigation into the murder began at the Old Bailey. They are charged with conspiring together to pervert the course of justice.

Detective Chief Superintendent Graham Melvin, who headed the investigation, and his assistant, Detective Inspector Maxwell Dingle, deny the charges. Mr Melvin also denies perjury.

In the statement, the CPS said it had considered all the evidence given to it during the inquiry. 'We have concluded, with the advice of counsel, that it (the evidence) is insufficient to justify the institution of criminal proceedings against any other person following the death of PC Blakelock.'

PC Blakelock's widow, Liz, said last night at her home in Cleadon, South Tyneside, that she was appalled no one would be charged.

She added: 'I am disgusted with the Crown Prosecution Service as a result of their decision. They may be putting it to one side but for me the pain goes on. My feeling is that a case does not end until someone is brought to justice, and I will never be able to rest while this remains unresolved.'

(Photograph omitted)