Report reveals police lied about activist's death

Riot police deliberately lied to officers investigating the death of an anti-racism activist, a Scotland Yard report revealed today.

Blair Peach, 33, died after was hit over the head by an officer at an anti National Front demonstration in Southall, west London, in 1979.



The officers involved made "false statements" regarding details surrounding his death, a previously secret report found.



Met police chief Sir Paul Stephenson said the report made "uncomfortable reading" but despite this the force insisted that nobody involved would face prosecution.



Mr Peach's partner Celia Stubbs said the findings "vindicated" her belief that the activist was killed by police.



The document - written by Commander John Cass, a former senior officer at the Met's internal complaints department, singled out the actions of the three officers, named as E, H and F.



He wrote: "The most serious aspect of this case has, without doubt, been the obstruction of the investigating officer in execution of their duty."



Commander Cass recommended the three officers should face prosecution.



He added: "I strongly recommend that proceedings be taken against Officer E, Officer H and Officer F for obstructing police in the execution of their duty, conspiring to do so, and attempting or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice."



Mr Peach was struck on the head during the protest on April 23 1979. He died in hospital of head injuries the next day.



Some 14 witnesses reported seeing him being hit by a police officer.



The names of the officers and witnesses involved were removed from the report for legal reasons.



Police insisted this had not been done to prevent embarrassment to the force.



The report said it could "reasonably be concluded that a police officer struck the fatal blow".



It continued: "The attitude and untruthfulness of some of the officers involved is a contributory factor.



"It is understandable that because of the events of the day officers were confused, or made mistakes, but one would expect better recall of events by trained police officers.



"However, there are cases where the evidence shows that certain officers have clearly not told the truth."



Mr Peach's partner Celia Stubbs said she was delighted to finally see the report.



She said: "I never really believed we would get it.



"It is fantastic after 31 years. I have only read 200 pages of the report but I feel that we have really been vindicated because we have always said that Blair had been killed by a policeman.



"It says in the report that it was an officer that struck Blair.



"I never really expected a prosecution. I don't regret that, I am just pleased that we have the report so we can see what happened on the day."



Her solicitor Raju Bhatt added: "What Celia and the family expect and deserve is a clear unequivocal acknowledgement from the Commissioner that the evidence establishes that one of the officers of the Metropolitan Police was responsible for Blair Peach's death."



The decision to publish came after public pressure to reveal the almost forgotten review in the months after the death of Ian Tomlinson during G20 protests.



Sir Paul said: "I have to say it's a matter of deep regret, and I have to say really, that I'm sorry that over 31 years since Blair Peach's death we've been unable to provide his family and friends with a definitive answer regarding the terrible circumstances that he met his death.



"I've personally written to Blair Peach's brothers and his partner to express this to them.



"It might be 31 years ago but I also have to say that the material published today makes for some uncomfortable reading.



"Uncomfortable as I've said, because there is no definitive final answer to his family and friends, uncomfortable that no officer came forward to declare use of force in relation to Blair Peach.



"Uncomfortable with Commander Cass's conclusions that officers had not been truthful with his investigative team."



The Met later released a statement confirming that nobody would face prosecution for Mr Peach's death.



A spokesman said: "We have gone to great lengths to ensure that all investigative options currently available have been exhausted.



"To this extent the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has provided us with independent advice stating that there is nothing which would currently justify carrying out a further investigation."



The Met later explained the legal reasons behind the removal of officers' names from the report.



A spokeswoman said: "Some of the information has been redacted to prevent the identification of members of the public and police officers who contributed to the investigations into Blair Peach's death.



"It is only information by which an individual could readily be identified, such as names, contact details and, in the case of police officers, serial numbers that has been removed.



"This has been done in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Human Rights Act 1998 and the individual's rights at common law.



"All redactions were done by independent legal counsel and go no further than is necessary for compliance with the legal duties mentioned above."

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?